Child hugging the father

Cooperative Co-parenting: How to Make Holidays Work

When you’re divorced, celebrating the holidays and long weekends can be tough. This is especially true when there are children in the picture and you and your ex have joint custody over them.

According to a divorce law firm in Kent, you’re forced to deal with “complex financial, emotional, and practical difficulties all at once” and this may indirectly affect your children.

This is why, as any loving parent would do, it’s important to instill the value of family – of all kinds – in your children. That way, they don’t grow up with a skewed vision about marriage. In a 2015 study published in Marriage and Family Review, researchers found that children who experienced a tumultuous home life are more likely to get divorced as adults.

Put your children’s happiness and wellbeing above anything else, especially during the holidays, through cooperative co-parenting. This way, they can see that you and your ex can set aside your differences for them. Here are some ideas on how to make holidays and vacations work:

Go Outdoors

Mother and son looking at the lake

Spending time at a neutral destination is the best way to start cooperative co-parenting. Plan a trip to the zoo and take turns with your ex in teaching your children about the importance of each animal they see.

Another option is to take your kids hiking. This way, you and your ex can work together at helping your kids through the hiking trail and subtly showing the value of teamwork. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the fresh air that the tees and mountains provide.

Start a Tradition

Some families practice holiday traditions that their ancestors passed down from generation to generation. These traditions may be tricky to maintain if you’re divorced, but not impossible. You and your ex just have to be a little more creative so your kids can practice what you did when you were their age.

Let’s say you have a tradition of opening presents when the clock strikes 12 on Christmas. You can still do this, but only for half the gifts that your kids received. Tell them to wait for the other parent in the morning, if they’re visiting, so they can have a gift-opening memory with both of their parents.

Setting up a tradition is important, not only for the sake of continuity but for your children’s wellbeing, too. Seeing their parents’ divorce can be a huge change and upheaval in their life, so a tradition—something constant—that they can look forward to provides a bit of stability that they might need.

Include Other Family Members

This doesn’t have to be a disaster waiting to happen. While divorce can sometimes impact extended family members, it’s important to be mature enough and set your differences aside to provide a loving atmosphere for your children.

To make family vacations and holidays less awkward, have other family members join you. Your kids’ aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents from both sides can be a source of even more familial love and affection for your children. This shows them that even though their parents aren’t getting back together, they have sources of love and support from other family members.

Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Years, and summer holidays—they don’t have to be complicated or sources of stress for you, your ex or your kids. To successfully co-parent during the holidays, just remember to put your kids first.

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