Christmas is stressful enough without having to second-guess what your ex-partner’s plan is. Take a look at our Top 7 must-do’s below to make sure you’re on the front foot with parenting arrangements.
1. Stay child-focused
Christmas should be about the children. Consider whether it’s really best for the children to make long trips on Christmas Day just to ensure they see both parents. The presents left by Santa will last under the tree for a couple of days if need be.
2. Make arrangements early
Christmas is a busy and expensive time of year for everyone. The extra stress of the holiday season can lead to the most amicable of co-parenting’s ending up in conflict trying to sort our parenting arrangements. Be organised and have a plan in place well before the Christmas chaos.
3. Confirm arrangements in writing well in advance
The last thing you need on Christmas Day is a miscommunication about who is picking up the children from where. Confirm the time and location of changeover in writing in advance and confirm once again the day before.
4. Be practical
Whilst changeover taking place at 12 noon on Christmas Day seems “fair”, it’s not always practical. Before confirming the changeover, think about what will be happening at that time. It’s not practical for anyone if everyone misses out on Christmas lunch!
5. Think of the (other) children
In a blended family you may need to consider multiple sets of children. Children will probably have the most fun spending the day with other kids, especially their step and half siblings. Sit down and map out the arrangements – it can be easy for children to “miss” each other if you’re not well organised.
6. Make sure the children know the plan
People like knowing what’s going to happen and this includes children. If the children know the plan well in advance, they are less likely to experience anxiety, making the day more enjoyable for everyone.
7. Get a second opinion
If you can’t sort it out between yourselves, don’t be afraid to get some outside help. This can be from a mutual friend, a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Family Law Mediator) or a Family Lawyer. Don’t leave it too late though. In some cases, you might need a Judge to make a decision; Court lists fill up quickly in the lead up to Christmas.