Co-Parenting At Christmas – Your Options For A Stress Free Holiday Season

It’s the time of year that we’re supposed to fill with fun, friends and family.

And the fourth “f” of the season is supposed to be for “food”… not that other 4 letter “f” word.

So, how do you peacefully divide the Christmas period when you both want to share this time with your children?

While Christmas should be a happy celebration, it can also be a stressful and emotional time for separated families. It probably feels like a huge area of contention for you, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your children spend time with yourself and your former partner over the festive season…

1. A 50/50 Split On Christmas Day

What many parents elect to do, is for one parent to have the children from Christmas Eve until Christmas morning, and then swap with your former partner who has them from lunch time through to boxing day. This means that both parents enjoy quality time with the kids on Christmas Day (and the fun days surrounding it!).

This may not be appropriate if you both live far away, are visiting family away from home, or if you feel it will be too disruptive for the children.

2. One For You, One For Me… Alternating Christmas Each Year

To avoid splitting Christmas Day itself, some parents elect to have one parent spend the entire Christmas period from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day (or longer) with their kids every second year.

Although this means not spending Christmas with your children every year, it allows for less stress and disruption during the period for the children and it is a popular option for parents who choose to travel over Christmas.

Just remember, unlike when you’re allocating Christmas treats, it’s one for one – no more one for you, two for me!!

3. Two Christmas Days? Check!

Another option is to have your Christmas celebration at a later or earlier time. This is a particularly great compromise if one parent prefers to celebrate New Year’s Eve or another holiday or religious event.

Whatever option works best, it’s important to keep the best interests of your children in mind.
It’s important that children are sheltered from any potential anxiety from a parent during the changeover process.

Some tips to assist in the transition or changeover that occurs during Christmas:

  • If you have an amicable relationship with your former partner, consider discussing the presents you intend to purchase for the children
  • If you have an amicable relationship with your former partner, and there is no risk of family violence, encourage the child to make a gift for the other parent and you can both deliver it at changeover.
  • Try and avoid discussing any of the outstanding issues at changeover and instead keep the conversation light and perhaps about Christmas presents or fun activities that are planned.
  • If appropriate, attend any end of school festivities ensuring the children are the focus of the event.

If you are unsure about what arrangements are reasonable or appropriate for Christmas or are having trouble reaching agreement about spending time with your child over the Christmas break, get in touch here to discuss the best options available to you.