As we discussed last week, co-parenting during the holidays is a challenging scenario. Last week we went over how to put the kids first, working with a co-parenting plan, and opening lines of communication. This week, we continue exploring top tips for co-parenting during the holidays.

5) Establish New Traditions

The process of establishing new traditions is especially important during the first round of holidays after the divorce. All of the family members that celebrate Christmas are likely feeling similar nerves mixed with holiday excitement. Channel that energy into creating a new tradition for everyone to enjoy.

Those traditions provide happy memories and a good distraction. It gives your children something specific to be excited about to take their mind off their nerves. The tradition even has the possibility of bringing the entire family together for new memories. Do not think of the new traditions as replacements, just new options.

6) Give The Kids Space & Time

Those nerves that the kids are feeling will not dissolve right away. It is something that requires space and time to process. While the holidays are all about family time and good memories, allow the children to have some free time. It is tempting to be “go go go”, but that only leads to exhausted kids in bad moods.

If you still want to have a family moment, make it a relaxing one. Sitting around a campfire, watching a movie, and eating dinner in are all great options.

7) Be Flexible

Being flexible, also known as “taking the high road.” Let emergencies and last-minute plan changes roll off your back as easily as possible. Especially when those little emergencies seem to be the fault of your ex-spouse.

One of the best ways to find the peace for flexibility is to schedule flexibility into holiday plans. Instead of scheduling drop off for exactly 1:30, establish a window of 1:00 to 2:00. Always keep in mind that while some exes act maliciously, accidents, mistakes, and hang ups do happen. The traffic delay is most likely just that, a traffic delay.

Even if your ex-spouse is half an hour late on purpose, what does it truly matter. At that point, all you can do is smile for the kids and take it in stride. Conveying your feelings to a mental health professional at a later time is probably smart. However, the kids do not need to see you release all of the holiday stress and nerves at your ex-spouse.

8) Schedule Time For Self-Care

Finally, take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids. If you have mountains of built up stress, it is almost certain that you’ll lose your temper and snap at some point. Schedule regular therapy appointments, take a hot bath, do come yoga. Whatever it takes to reset and re-center your brain to enable you to be the best parent you can be.