Sharing Kids Over The Holidays
In many divorce and custody battles, the parenting plan outlines holiday plans- especially religious holidays, such as Christmas. However, if you did not have that plan legally detailed for you, then you may find yourself wondering about the best way to handle custody over the holidays. Generally, the sooner these expectations are negotiated, the better.
Things To Consider Mentioning During This Discussion
Right now, Christmas is around the corner, and is probably the holiday that is currently on everyone’s minds. However, that doesn’t mean it is the most important holiday in every family and household. Ask yourself “What holidays are important to me, and why?” For many people, the most important holidays are either religious holidays, or the ones with the largest family gatherings. Perhaps your family tradition is to do a big Easter Dinner at your parent’s house, and therefore takes priority over other holidays.
Consider a Rotating Schedule
If you and your ex both prioritize the same holidays, then a rotating schedule might be a good option! For example, if your ex gets Christmas with the kids this year, then you get Christmas with the kids next year. Some exes choose to alternate every major Holiday. For example, Parent 1 gets New Years, Easter, and Thanksgiving while Parent 2 gets Valentines Day, Halloween, and Christmas, then they switch the next year. Of course, the above Holidays are just examples, and you and your ex might find different holidays to be more important.
Consider Celebrating Together
Preface: To be completely fair, this isn’t a good suggestion for all exes. Depending on the relationship you have with your ex, this might just sound like a bad idea. However, some exes remain friendly, and therefore might enjoy the experience of enjoying a holiday together for the kids’ sake. It will feel a little familiar and a little foreign at the same time
Discuss beliefs, gifts, and activities
Gifts need to be discussed for obvious reasons: to avoid both of you buying the same gift. If your children are a bit older, there is also a chance that they might want a more expensive gift that you and your ex can pitch in on together. If your children are young enough to still play with toys, you and your ex can also coordinate gifts that go together, such as Barbie and the dreamhouse for Barbie, or the other teenage mutant ninja turtles that your kid doesn’t already have. This can also add an element of fun into working with your ex.
It is also important to remember that not all holiday activities happen on the holiday itself. For example, you might want to take your kids to see a Christmas lights show, or to the local performance of the Nutcracker. You should discuss these plans with your ex to make sure to coordinate schedules and avoid planning conflicting activities.
Likewise, you should discuss holiday-oriented beliefs. For example, if your children are young, they might still believe in Santa Clause. It would be terrible if one parent accidentally spoiled this for the other.
Ask the Kids What They Want
This may not be very helpful if the children are young, but as they get older, they may develop certain reasons that they may want to do things a specific way. For example, maybe over the years, your ex has developed a specific holiday tradition that your kids don’t want to miss out on. The important caveat here is to ensure that you’re not pressuring the kids into wanting to spend a specific holiday with you, and that you’re having this conversation to actively listen what they want to do.
We know it isn’t easy to share time with your kids, especially when it comes to important moments like the holidays. These conversations will be easier if you and your ex listen to each other, take turns, and keep the children’s best interests at heart.
If you think that it might be time to determine holidays on a parenting agreement, or make changes to an existing parenting agreement, give us a call! We’re more than happy to help.