The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone. Being a divorced parent can add to tension and stress if you are trying to work out schedules with your ex-spouse and parenting time. To help alleviate stress and tensions between parents, and to ensure that your kids have a positive holiday experience, consider the following suggestions.
- Get input from your children.
Far too often parents will decide what they think is best when making visitation schedules for the holidays. They might feel like the children have to spend time equally between both households or have timing issues where one parent needs to have the kids at a specific time or day for other holiday activities or events.
The thing to remember is what you and your ex-spouse deem as fair, might not seem like it or be the best for your children. It is better to sit down and talk to your children and find out how they want to spend the holidays. In addition, try to remain flexible with plans, in case things change.
- Should parents celebrate the holidays together or apart?
Depending upon the nature of the divorce, and the amount of time that has passed, some parents celebrate certain holiday events together as a family. You should only consider this if both you and your ex-spouse can keep you feelings in check and are amicable towards each other. Otherwise, it is better for you and your children to celebrate holiday events apart for the least amount of tension.
- Inform your children of the scheduling arrangement.
Once you have decided on visitation schedules for the holidays, it does not hurt to make a calendar and use different colours for the times your children will be with you and their other parent. You can also put the times of other holiday activities and events on the calendar. Make sure to give a copy to the other parent and hang the calendar in an area where your kids can easily see it. Not only will this help you and your ex-spouse stay on track with the visitation schedule, but also makes it easier on your kids so they know when they will be with each parent.
- Plan your visit with help from your kids.
One mistake some parents can make is to decide what they want to do with their kids for every single waking moment. This can lead to your children becoming agitated, irritable, and unhappy. Rather, remember to be flexible with them, just like you were when making the visitation schedule. Let them have a say in how they want to spend time with you. It can just as rewarding for them to have time to do fun, yet simple things, like staying up late and watching movies with you.
If you are having difficulties working out a holiday visitation schedule with your ex-spouse, do not hesitate to contact Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers at 647-499-4888 and speak with one of our Toronto family lawyers for legal advice and assistance.