blog » November 16, 2018 by Renee Herren

#30Seconds In-Depth: Co-parenting Through the Holidays With Traci Whitney of Two Happy Homes! by Renee Herren

Blog Holidays
9 months ago
#30Seconds In-Depth: Co-parenting Through the Holidays With Traci Whitney of Two Happy Homes!

The holidays are here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a time of stress and tension. For co-parents, the holiday season can be especially challenging. Coordinating schedules, visits and even gifts between two households – all while managing time with family and friends – can test the patience of any co-parent. Traci Whitney, founder of Two Happy Homes, shared tips on how to make the holidays fun and joyful, all while successfully working with your co-parent and extended family. After all, this time of year is all about the kids!

Q: Should co-parents follow a custody schedule that they create for the holidays, or should they be flexible and plan year to year?

Planning ahead is essential for co-parents, and having a holiday schedule predetermined is the best way to make sure that you don't run into any major planning snags during this busy time of year.It's OK for co-parents to be flexible, but also respectful to each other's schedules and traditions. Even consider extended family traditions and be accommodating when you can.

Be generous with time during the holidays. Usually there are lots of fun things going on in both houses, and it’s great for the kids to be able to enjoy time with both parents. This is the season for giving, and your co-parent will appreciate the flexibility. Usually parents split time 50/50 with the kids for the holidays, sometimes alternating years for Thanksgiving and Christmas or Christmas Eve. This is a great way to make sure that parents get equal time with the kids.

Q: What if the kids want to spend the holidays with only one parent? Should we force them to spend time with both parents during the holidays?

The short answer is yes. Especially when children are young, it is common for them to gravitate to one parent or another after a divorce. This doesn’t mean that the other parent should be alienated during the holidays.It can be difficult for both parents when the kids would rather stay at one house. However, parents need to keep children out of scheduling decisions, not just during the holidays, but any time of year. Into their teens kids may be allowed to have more input, but even then they should not be kept from seeing a co-parent during the holidays.

Q: Should co-parents coordinate gift-giving during the holidays?

I like to coordinate large ticket items with my co-parent, and we make sure the kids know that they are from both of us. It’s a great way to give a larger gift that each of us may not want to give individually. It’s a great idea to split kids Christmas lists between parents, that way you can avoid duplicate gifts! Coordinating gifts for the kids also breaks down that sometimes long list that the kids hand over into smaller, more manageable-sized shopping lists.

Q: Is it a good idea for co-parents to celebrate the holidays together?

When co-parents are comfortable enough to spend holidays together it creates a wonderful family dynamic for the kids! After my divorce my ex and I often did things together with the kids. It makes for a smoother transition, and if you are able to spend some time together as a family during the holidays then it makes them that much more special for the little ones. It may not be something that works forever, or for every holiday, but if co-parents can carve out something special to do together with the kids during the holidays, it shows the children that you will always be a family unit.

Q: My co-parent is in a new relationship and wants them to be present during the holidays. I don't feel comfortable with this, what can I do?

It can be hard to accept a new partner in a co-parenting relationship, but it is best to be respectful of your co-parent’s choice and to trust that they have the best interests of the children at heart. Co-parents will inevitably move on and find new partners. Unless there is a serious reason to object to them spending time with the kids, this is something that is better to just accept. Even though you might not like the new partner that your ex has found, stop and take a good look at why you feel this way. Chances are this is more about your own feelings than the well-being of the children.

Q: School vacation is around the corner and my ex wants to take the kids out of town for the week. Our schedule says that we split the week, should I let the kids go?

It’s common for co-parents to split the week of holiday vacation. But it’s nice to be flexible when one parent is trying to schedule extended vacations, since there are only so many weeks kids have free from school. Think about trading some time with another school vacation, so that you can still have equal time, but also accommodate you co-parent’s request for extra holiday vacation time. However, if you have special family plans of your own to consider, then ask your co-parent if they can be flexible with their vacation schedule.

Q: How can people learn more about you and your services?

Thanks for asking! Parents can head to TwoHappyHomes.com to take a look at the features we have to help co-parents communicate more effectively. We also have a Co-Parenting Tips section, where parents can find great advice about divorce, parenting, and all of wonderful craziness that goes with it! And be sure to check out my tips on 30Seconds!

Renee Herren
This is going to be a wonderful chat with great info relevant to so many!
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
So excited for this chat tonight. Co-parenting is often difficult on the best of days, so this help is very much needed during this extra stressful time of year. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Traci Whitney !
Meredith Schneider
Woohoo Traci Whitney ! Can't wait to hear what awesome tips you have to share to help families ease the stress this time of year can bring.
Traci Whitney
Super excited for the chat tonight! Can't wait to connect with other coparents and try to de-stress some of the coparenting out of the holidays!
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I am so excited about this chat tonight too! You are an amazing co-parent and this topic is so important for families.
Traci Whitney
Thank you, Mindy! Looking forward to seeing you there!!
Dolores Hall
RSVP @DaQueen_MrsDIVA
Renee Herren
Thank you for letting me know your Twitter handle!

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