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Co-Parenting Tips for the Holidays

— April 20, 2022

Whether it’s out-of-state travel or family parties, make sure to plan ahead for the holidays.

The holidays can be a complicated time for families with divorced or separated parents. Between splitting up time with the kids, gift-giving, and planning holiday get-togethers, there is a lot for parents to juggle. Matters become more complicated if there are custody issues and tension between the parents. Fortunately, there a many Arkansas family law attorneys who have experience helping families find that balance and a co-parenting plan for the holidays. Below are some tips on how to co-parent during the holidays so everyone can have a merry time.

  • You don’t have to celebrate the day of the holiday. Depending on the custody agreement, one parent may have the child(ren) on Christmas day and the other may have them for Thanksgiving. The important thing to remember is that celebrations don’t have to be limited to the exact day. Instead, consider making new traditions and focus on how to make the overall season special. If you’re depressed or bitter about not having your child(ren) on the day of a specific holiday, make special plans to enjoy the season with friends or other family members. That will help keep the negative feelings at bay.
  • Don’t make the holidays a competition with the other parent. Competition isn’t healthy and often ends up hurting feelings and putting kids in the middle. Instead, take the high road and don’t worry about what the other parent is planning to gift your child(ren). Keep in mind that many kids just want quality, peaceful time with their parents. If you are having a hard time, try to stay away from social media during the holidays. Doing this will cut out the chance of you seeing pictures or posts of the other parent and how they’re spending time with the children. Avoiding social media during this time can help cut down on sadness, anger, and feelings of resentment.

    Woman with paper planner and pen; image by STIL, via
    Woman with paper planner and pen; image by STIL, via
  • Plan ahead. Whether it’s out-of-state travel or family parties, make sure to plan ahead for the holidays. If you’re planning on traveling out of state with your child(ren), make sure those plans do not violate an existing custody agreement. The last thing you want on Christmas Eve is to be charged with kidnapping after taking your child(ren) across state lines without permission. Many families also plan multiple parties and get-togethers with different sides of their families. Make sure to communicate with the other parent so each of you knows when the other is on ‘kid duty.’ Be flexible, also. The holiday season is a busy time. Be flexible with your plans and keep the lines of communication open.

There is a tendency for many during the holidays to over-plan. Trying to cram in too much without communicating with the other parent and without planning things through can cause chaos. Keep things simple by being flexible, communicating, and planning. If you need assistance with co-parenting tips during the holidays, contact an experienced Arkansas family law attorney. From Little Rock to Fort Smith, there are attorneys standing by to help you through these times.

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