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Tips for co-parenting during the holidays


The holidays are a time for family. However, this can get a bit tricky when a child has parents in two different households.

Being able to properly co-parent after a divorce is essential, and navigating the holidays correctly can be very important. Here are a few tips that may aid in making a child’s holidays as enjoyable as possible.

Seek compromise

Though parents may desire to have a cohesive holiday season with their children by their side, after divorce it may be necessary to abandon that dream, at least in part. Especially if a child is used to having both parents around during the holidays, parents should work to keep that aspect to help maintain balance for the child.

If the parents can fully set aside their differences for the day, it may be possible to have a joint day or couple of hours, where one parent goes to the house of the primary custodial parent to spend time with the child. If not, the parents may try to agree to an arrangement where the noncustodial parent picks up the child and takes him or her for a few hours on or days around the holiday. If possible, it would be beneficial to iron these terms out in the custody agreement ahead of time, or seek special arrangement in writing.


During holidays where children usually receive gifts, parents should try to coordinate who is getting which gifts. A child receiving the same gift in two different households can not only be disappointing, but may also highlight the disconnect between the two households in the child’s mind. To avoid this, parents should communicate effectively and in a timely manner so that they may be on the same page with the gifts the child receives.

The courts provide guidelines for co-parenting, which focus on catering to the best interest of the child. In successful co-parenting, especially around the holidays, parents should focus on putting their own issues aside and making the experience a positive, loving, memorable one for the child.