The holidays are coming, and child custody planning can get complicated. This is the season when parents often feel most frustrated about the agreement. They don't have the kids whenever they want, they have to schedule and plan with the ex during a very busy time and it can grow very contentious.
Here are a few tips that can help it go smoothly:
- Tell the kids the plan in advance. Don't give them any last-minute surprises. They also want to know whose family they'll be with for Thanksgiving or where they're waking up on Christmas morning.
- Embrace new traditions. You may have to give up old ones, like taking the kids to church on Christmas Eve. Now they're with your ex. Instead of dwelling on the negative, look for new traditions you can create.
- Work with your ex, not against him or her. Don't make the fight bigger than it has to be because you want to "win." Realize that you both want similar things and there are bound to be disappointments. Working together reduces the stress.
- Don't get too fixated on the holiday itself. Maybe you won't have your kids on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day. Can you celebrate on Saturday instead? Perhaps you won't get the kids on Christmas morning. Can you still enjoy the weekend and Christmas Eve? Focus on planning a fun time for you and the kids, even if it's not exactly on the calendar date that you wanted.
Above all, you always want to focus on the kids. Be sure you know your rights under the child custody agreement, but always think about what will make the holidays the best for them.
Source: The Mercury, "Child custody and the holidays: Do's and Don'ts," Andrew D. Taylor, accessed Nov. 10, 2017