Here are my top tips for how best to approach the arrangements:
Allow plenty of time for discussions
You will need to reach agreement with your ex about the arrangements, so allow some time for discussions to take place. Don’t leave it to the last minute and then have to rush to get things organised. It puts undue pressure on an already tricky discussion with your ex.
Think about how it could work
The starting point is for you to sit down and consider how you think things will work over Christmas. There will be presents, activities and outings for the children to take into account. Then, set out your suggestions in an email to your ex for him/her to think about and respond to with their thoughts. Attention to detail prevents things being forgotten.
Be realistic with your plans
The arrangements need to work for the family as whole. Every family is different. For most people though, how well you do/don’t get on with your ex is clearly an important factor. It is also worth taking account of how far apart the two of you live from each other regarding travel arrangements for the children.
Keep things simple
Don’t over-complicate the arrangements by trying to achieve too much or by trying too hard for each parent to have exactly the same amount of time with the children. Don’t let the children end up spending large amounts of time in the car being ferried between each parent’s home. No one benefits there, least of all the children.
Make decisions in the best interests of the children
Prioritise the children’s needs over your own. Be a grown up and a loving parent. Avoid petty arguments with your ex. Be flexible. Decide what’s best for the children and work together to agree how you can make that work for them.
I very much understand that Christmas is a big deal for children and as parents you want to make it exciting and special for them. For most parents their enjoyment of Christmas comes from seeing their children enjoy themselves. But, please do bear in mind, it is only one day of the year. There is a great deal of pressure from the media to make Christmas in to a huge event. Be careful. Avoid running the risk of it becoming too expensive, stressful and exhausting- not a great recipe for a happy time. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy it.
See Tips For Parents Part 1 for information about different types of children arrangements.
For other blogs on the topic of Christmas, please click on the links below:
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