5 Essential tips for co-parenting during the Christmas season

Christmas can be tricky to navigate for separated couples. It can bring up lots of emotions and difficult feelings. On top of that you also have the ‘usual’ Christmas challenges to manage: presents, extended family, food and a busy calendar!

What is most important for co-parents to remember? Making sure your children feel secure and connected to both parents (where possible) even though the situation may look and feel a bit different these days.

Here are five essential tips for co-parenting in a calm, respectful and peaceful way this Christmas.

Be kind to yourself

Allow yourself to be sad, disappointed or upset in your own time and way (away from the children). It’s completely okay to not feel okay. Christmas can be tough. With time there will eventually be a ‘new normal’. But don’t place too many expectations on yourself and if you need a good cry on the couch when the kids are away, do it.

Create your ‘new normal’

Yes, things have changed. But Christmas is still a magical time of year for your children. You may not want to or be able to continue some of your old traditions. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t start some new ones together with your children. Look at it as an opportunity to do something at Christmas you’ve always wanted to do but have never quite got around to. Have you always wanted to go to the community carols? Enjoy a splurge day Christmas shopping in the city? Volunteered somewhere?

There is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ Christmas but you can still make the best of the situation. Who knows, some of these new traditions may just be the most magic you’ve experienced yet.

Be clear on your plans

When it comes to making arrangements with your co-parent at Christmas, the best advice is to plan well ahead of time and make sure it is very clear between you what is happening. Try and be as calm as possible when discussing arrangements.

Communicate in a way that let’s your co-parent know the aim is to ensure you both have a meaningful and fair arrangement with the children. This could mean alternating Christmas each year or the children spending Christmas eve through to lunch Christmas day with one parent and swapping the next year.

Once you have reached agreement, make sure you both present a ‘united’ front to your children. Be excited for them and talk positively about what will happen (even if you are feeling otherwise!).

Treat yourself and distract

During the time when the children are away, put plans in place so that you aren’t sitting by yourself, feeling lonely. Distraction is key! Can you spend time with your own family or extended family? Do you have any other single friends you could organise something special to do? Even volunteering might help bring some joy and help take your mind of things too. Whatever you choose to do, make it special and prioritise you.

Children Opening Christmas Presents

Image by rawpixel.com

Stay focused on the children

Putting your children first may seem obvious but sometimes the holiday period can be an emotionally charged and challenging time. Your children need to know and feel secure that both of you are there for them and that even though Christmas will be ‘different’, it will still be special and meaningful. Don’t try to out-do the other co-parent with gifts or extravagance. Stay as calm and respectful as possible. Remember, you can’t control the other co-parent, but you cancontrol how you react to things. Keep your communications positive and as the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

Do you co-parent? What tips would you add to this list?

By Rachel Ravell, Peppermint Legal

Peppermint Legal is a fresh approach to family law. We help separated couples stay out of court, reach agreement and find their fresh start.
We use a kind, calm and respectful resolution process to help you move forward. You don’t have to face your divorce or separation alone. We’re here to help. 

You might also like…

Facing separation? Peppermint Legal considers a fresh approach to resolution


By Guest Contributor

You might also like…