Plan now for a conflict-free holiday season

When you have children with your former spouse, it pays to have a pleasant relationship. As the holiday season can be stressful, cooperating on a parenting time schedule might become even more challenging this time of year.

Follow these tips to help ease the strain of coparenting during the holidays, especially if you have recently separated or divorced.

Have a schedule in place

Outlining a holiday schedule in your family’s parenting plan sets early expectations for the season. Most divorced parents decide to alternate the years they spend holidays with their kids. Some decide to celebrate together. Some parents split the winter school vacation down the middle while others designate that time as visitation with the noncustodial parent. Whatever works best for your family, make sure you put it in writing.

Put your kids first

If you have a bustling holiday celebration calendar, try to avoid overscheduling time with your kids. While extended relatives want to spend time with your little ones, going to several crowded parties in one day can be exhausting and overwhelming for kids of all ages. Remember to take some time just to connect with your little family.

Be flexible

While you envisioned waking up with your kids every Christmas morning or holding hands with them at the Thanksgiving table each year, that is not the reality for most divorced parents. Even in years when you cannot celebrate with your children on the actual date of the holiday, you can still take time for special traditions on a different day.

With these three simple tips, you can take a bit of the stress out of the upcoming season.