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  • Michelle Kooy

Some tips on how to have a happy holidays when parenting time is shared

The winter holidays are a special time for a lot of families. With the children on break from school and important holidays occurring such as Christmas or Hanukkah, parenting time can quickly become an issue in dispute.


Tip 1 – Early Communication

It is important to discuss parenting time over the winter holidays early. Discussing parenting time in advance of the holidays ensures there will be enough time to resolve disputes. It also allows for parents to plan their days or travel with the children and provides children with stability by knowing where they will be during the winter break.

In addition to discussing parenting time, it can be a good idea for parents to discuss other situations that can arise during the holidays. If a holiday where gifts are given is celebrated, it is useful for parents to discuss which presents they will be giving the child to avoid duplication of gifts. This can also apply to winter activities like taking photos with Santa, etc.


Tip 2 – Flexibility

When preparing for a discussion on parenting time over the winter holidays, it is important for parents to consider the best interest of the children and be open to compromise. Holiday traditions will differ greatly from family to family and often plans need to consider extended family members schedules too. Consider when the other parent is asking for flexibility and changes that there will come a time when you need the same courtesy to accommodate your family transitions. Therefore, where possible and reasonable be adaptable.


Tip 3 – Keep the children out of it

The winter holidays are often emotional for families. However, parents should try their best to focus on the best interests of their children. If there is disagreement over parenting time, do not mention it to the children. In addition, try not to share winter holiday plans with the children until you have confirmed with the other parent. Setting expectations that cannot be fulfilled can be very disappointing for children. Finally, it is never appropriate to bring children into a dispute between parents by disparaging the other parent in front of them or forcing them to choose who they rather spend the winter holidays with.

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