The U.S. Census reported in 2021 that 30% of children live in homes without both parents present. In many of these situations, parents are not together due to a divorce.
For these families, creating holiday custody arrangements can add an extra layer of complexity. It is important to find the best way to split holiday custody to ensure that both parents can spend quality time with the children while minimizing stress and conflicts.
Communication is key
Open and honest communication between both parents is the foundation for successful holiday custody arrangements. It should being with a calm and respectful conversation to determine what each parent’s priorities are for holiday time with the children.
Consider the children’s needs
Parents should always put their children’s needs and interests first. Their age, school schedule and personal preferences should all be considerations. The goal is to create an environment where the children can enjoy the holidays and feel secure.
Flexibility is essential, especially when planning for holidays that may have sentimental significance for both parents. If one parent has a particular attachment to a holiday, the other may consider allowing them to have more time during that period, and negotiate for extra time during other holidays.
Create a detailed schedule
To avoid misunderstandings and disputes, parents should create a detailed schedule outlining who will have custody during each holiday. Include the start and end times, as well as the location of the exchange. Having a clear plan in writing can help both parents stay organized.
One approach that works for many families is to rotate holidays each year. For example, if one parent has the children for Thanksgiving this year, the other parent will have them next year. This rotation helps to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to celebrate holidays with their children.
Some families find success in sharing holidays, especially when the parents live close to each other. In this arrangement, both parents spend part of the holiday with the children. This approach can be especially beneficial when the children have strong bonds with both parents and wish to celebrate with both.
Regardless of the eventual plans, parents should try to maintain some family traditions. If there are specific holiday customs or activities that the children enjoy, parents should do their best to continue these traditions in both households. This creates a sense of continuity and stability for the children that can make the situation easier for everyone.