Tips for co-parenting during the holidays

20 December 2023

If you are newly separated or in the middle of the process, the festive/holiday season may feel fraught or even utterly heart wrenching this year. Co-parenting over this period can add another layer of complexity.

Here are some practical tips to help you navigate what can be a difficult time:

1. Know your triggers and prepare a game plan.

  • During a time when your life might feel out of control, being able to manage certain events and interactions will help you to regain a sense of control. If an old tradition or event feels too painful, let it go for now.

2. Create new holiday traditions

  • If distance or other logistics mean that you cannot be with your children on a particular holiday, celebrate on a different day. It is not the date that matters, it is the time together. Make an agreement with your former partner to alternate the special days next year.

3. Go easy on yourself and reach out for help if you need it

  • Expect that there will be periods of sadness and grief. Surround yourself with family and friends to help you get through it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are resources available to help. Check out organisations like Beyond Blue for information and support.

4. Keep the focus on the children

  • If your children are old enough, let them help plan the holidays. This will give your children something to look forward to and some ownership over the new family traditions in your household.

5. Be flexible

  • Sometimes things happen outside of your control. You can be disappointed but don’t let it impact your children’s enjoyment of the holidays. What children need most after their parents separate is for their parents to cooperate, not compete.

6. Keep communications ‘vanilla’

  • The period is stressful enough. No need to either add oxygen to aggressive/provocative communications or send/engage in them yourself.

7. Safety is key

  • If there is any immediate risk or threat, act in a way that ensures the immediate safety of you, your children and your family. Speak to authorities where necessary.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need legal advice. Our team of experienced family lawyers are here to provide support and guidance.

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