Instead of a white Christmas, are you dreaming of having your kids home for the holidays? When you are going through a divorce or modifying your custody agreement, the winter holidays are one the most important times to consider. Without a well-planned arrangement, your children will have a season of stress, contention and too much travel.
Give your children the best gift this year: Plan ahead on how to split custody this winter and be accommodating when it benefits the kids.
Which parent gets which holidays?
The first thing to decide is which parent gets which holidays. There are multiple possible arrangements for splitting up the various days, including breaks from school and work. The solution that is best for your children depends on factors such as the distance between you and your ex, important family traditions, the schedule of events and any special vacations. Remember that what matters most is not the exact days and times you get but how you spend the moments you have with your children. Sometimes having an early or late Christmas or other holiday with you can be more exciting than celebrating with each parent on the same day.
How to prepare
Once you have figured out the custody schedule, be ready to make the transitions smooth for your children. Let them know ahead of time when they will be going between homes. Have their bags, gifts and other holiday needs ready to go. Plan your celebrations around visitation to avoid rushing or being late. Embrace the holiday spirit of thoughtfulness and forgiveness to mitigate contention.
Try new things
Do the best with the time you have. Start new traditions and ditch ones that no longer work. This includes your arrangement. If things were too hectic this year, try a different one next year. You may have to make changes anyway as your children get older and have different activities and ideas about how they want to spend winter break. Doing what is best for your children will make the holidays meaningful for them.