For Illinois families, the holiday season is a time to be surrounded by loved ones. The holidays should be about joy and happiness. However, for recently divorced or separated parents, the holidays can bring much stress, worry and anxiety. Here are some ways those with co-parenting custody arrangements can navigate the holiday season more smoothly and reduce stress for both children and parents.
Planning is one of the best ways co-parents can reduce stress. Co-parents can benefit by sitting down and spelling out how time will be spent during the holidays. Discuss family traditions, but also be willing to let go of things that create more stress than enjoyment.
Co-parents should also be on the same page concerning gifts and things that are off-limits. Consider in-laws or other family members who could be giving gifts and let them know about any guidelines. Many times, parents want to shower their children with gifts, but keep in mind that it is going to be easier to establish consistency from the start than to reign in gift-giving or entitlement.
Make the children the top priority
When making plans or decisions around the holidays, always remember to make the children and their experience the top priority. For example, a parent may be wanting to squeeze in as many family celebrations as possible while he or she has the kids, but consider how it would feel from the children’s point of view. Sometimes, parents create exhaustion and chaos by trying to make memories or keep traditions. Parents in Illinois who have questions surrounding child custody or parenting concerns may want to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.