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Tips for co-parents to make the holidays easier

It is that time of year when the holidays seem to be dictating almost every part of our day and we find ourselves thinking constantly about gifts to buy, family gatherings, cooking and decorating. And yet, through all the obligations and stresses of the holidays, we also want to celebrate joy and peace.

But for parents who share custody of a child, this time of year can be anything but joyful and peaceful. The anxiety that many people feel this month anyway can prove to be overwhelming when it is combined with trying to adjust parenting plans to fit in with holiday obligations and traditions. However, there are some ways for Minnesota parents to approach these situations that can hopefully make it a little easier.

There are basically three good times parents can identify pain points of a custody arrangements and take steps to address them in effective ways: before, during and immediately following the holiday season.

Long before kids are making out their wish lists for Santa, parents can be proactive in addressing parenting time concerns. Making schedules sooner, rather than later, can be crucial in planning for the holidays. In fact, many custody orders have this information already laid out, so referring back to the original agreement can be essential.

But, as they say, the best laid plans can often go astray. All the planning in the world cannot account for unseen problems. While it is important for both parents to do whatever they can to stick with the agreement in place, unexpected complications can come up and may be avoidable. This is why it can be important to try and be flexible when necessary to avoid conflict.

When the holidays are eventually behind us, parents can talk about what worked and what didn't work with each other, but especially with the kids. Discussing how they felt and what they may have been missed or been excited about can help parents understand what should stay the same and what may need to change next year.

The holidays can be tough on parents and kids who need to split up time with each other. But parents should try to stay focused on their children and making the holidays as peaceful and joyful for them as possible. When all is said and done, it is their well-being and happiness that needs to be the top priority.

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