The holiday season can be tough on the family schedule as visits with grandparents, siblings, friends and even co-workers can eat up much of your calendar. If you are going through a divorce with children, you may also have to be creative with your scheduling to fit time in to be with your kids.
Conflicts regarding who will be with the kids on which days is nothing new. But there are ways to diminish any problems that may arise, and hopefully get you into the new year with a relatively low level of built up stress. Here are some tips that you can follow that may help you and your ex-spouse navigate the holiday season scheduling time with your children.
Do you already have a plan in place?
You will want to view your parenting plan to see if you have a schedule already in place for holidays. If you do not have a parenting plan in place, think back over the year about conversations or other holidays to see how you worked things out then.
You may not get what you want
If you want to alter a previously determined joint custody holiday schedule, be prepared to not get the days you are requesting. As mentioned above, holiday scheduling is not always easy and making changes to a pre-determined plan may not be doable for the other parent. If you do not have a plan in place and you both want the kids at the same time, something will have to give, and it may have to be you.
Communicate clearly and ask for the same
Being direct and honest about your intention can go a long way to get understanding from your ex-spouse. Trying to conceal plans with a new partner or being vague about party plans can work against you. If this is your first holiday season away from your ex, keep in mind that schedule negotiations will continue after this with additional holidays, so start off on the right foot.
Work on a compromise
Compromising during holidays and special events may cause for unique scheduling situations. You may ask about splitting a day in half for each parent or have trade off days. Something like, if the weekend was the time to be with mom, maybe dad can have the kids Saturday night in place of next Tuesday.
Leave the kids out of it
If you have a special get-together you want to take the kids to, but you are not scheduled to have them on that day, do not tell the kids how you want them to be there with you. Once you can get the scheduled changed with your ex-spouse, you can let them in on your plans. Otherwise, you may both be disappointed. Also, most times kids don’t want to be in charge of making the decisions, they will do whatever the parents decide, so there is no reason to ask them what they want to do. You should refrain from putting this pressure on them.
Both moms and dads know how important it is for kids to spend holiday time with family. Usually, each parent is willing to work on some form of accommodation, so the child can have a full family experience. While working out the parenting schedule during busy times of the year may not be easy, it can be accomplished with a little understanding and give and take.