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Navigating Co-Parenting During the Holidays: 10 Helpful Tips

Mother wearing Santa hat hugs her son in the living room during the holidays.

The holiday season is a time for celebration and cheer. But after a divorce, determining how to make holiday plans when co-parenting can be challenging. You may encounter emotional stress, scheduling conflicts, and communication roadblocks. Co-parenting during the holidays is all about your child’s best interests.

Below are 10 helpful co-parenting tips tailored for the holiday season. If you experience difficulties with child custody or divorce, speak to an experienced West Virginia divorce lawyer at Klie Law Offices.

1. Effective communication is key

One of the critical elements of successful co-parenting during the holidays is maintaining open communication. Engaging in discussions with your co-parent is important to ensure that you both can effectively coordinate holiday plans. This involves treating interactions respectfully and courteously, putting emotions aside, and focusing solely on your children’s needs and well-being.

2. Plan holidays ahead of time

It’s best to organize holiday schedules well ahead of time to minimize stress. This way, you, your co-parent, and your child know what to expect during the holidays. Try using a shared digital calendar or co-parenting app to make planning easier. This can help keep both parents informed about what’s to come and able to prepare for changes.

3. Embrace flexibility and compromise

Smooth co-parenting requires flexibility and compromise from both parties, especially during the holidays. Prioritize your children’s happiness and be willing to adjust your plans for their benefit. Consider dividing holiday time to ensure children spend quality time with both parents.

4. Steer clear of competition when co-parenting

Post-divorce, it’s crucial to avoid competing for your children’s time and affection. Avoiding competition allows you to work together to do what’s best for your children.

5. Coordinate gift giving

Coordinating gift-giving during the holidays after a divorce can be a delicate matter. Share ideas for gifts to avoid duplication. This can be done through a shared list or direct communication. It’s helpful to divide the list of potential gifts so each parent can choose what they’d like to give. For larger or more significant gifts, consider pooling resources for a joint present from both parents.

6. Respect traditions and create new ones

Honor important family traditions, but also be open to creating new ones that reflect the new family dynamics. This makes the holidays special and inclusive for everyone involved. Communicate any new plans with your children in advance, helping them adjust their expectations.

7. Put your children first when co-parenting

Putting your children first involves prioritizing their emotional and psychological well-being above all else. Involve your children in the holiday planning process. Ask them what they would like to do and who they would like to spend time with, considering their age and maturity. Their input can help guide your decisions.

8. Share the holidays or alternate them

Consider sharing or alternating holidays with your children to make the process fair for everyone. One common approach is to alternate major holidays each year. For example, one parent might have the children for Christmas Eve one year and Christmas Day the next, then switch the following year.

Also, the spirit of a holiday can be celebrated on any day. If the actual holiday can’t be split or alternated, consider celebrating on a different date.

9. Maintain a positive outlook when co-parenting during the holidays

Spending time with your family on the holidays should be a positive experience. Focus on that. The more positivity you bring to co-parenting during the holidays, the better the experience will be for everyone involved—this year and years to come.

10. Get the help of an experienced family law attorney

In situations where mutual agreement on holiday schedules is challenging, consider seeking the assistance of an experienced family law attorney at Klie Law Offices. We can offer guidance and help establish a fair and balanced parenting plan that serves the best interests of your children.

To find out how we can help you, contact us online and set up a consultation with our legal team. You can also call our West Virginia offices in Buckhannon, Parkersburg, and Clarksburg.

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