Divorced parents can find a challenge in nearly every situation following a recent separation. Tasks which used to be routine might now be cumbersome. In addition, there are now numerous scenarios which require forethought, careful planning and an unexpected level of flexibility.
Ensuring that parents develop and follow a holiday child visitation schedule might seem like an impossible task at first, but by following these six tips, you can make a difficult situation much more tenable.
While it might be impossible to account for every change, challenge and stipulation, navigating a visitation schedule can be made much easier if you keep these tips in mind:
- Work from an agreed upon parenting plan: A key element of your divorce mediation is negotiating a parenting plan that blends the needs of the children with the needs of the parent. Having this document in place makes the visitation schedule that much easier.
- Plan ahead: While accounting for every holiday party, school event or family-friend excursion might be an impossibility, discussing these things in advance with your ex can mean the difference between a successful visit – or a disaster.
- Prioritize: Following directly from the above item, there might be times when you have to have a serious family discussion about an event that simply must be missed. This leads to . . .
- Teach the kids to speak for themselves: Bringing the children into the discussion gives them a voice in the matter. Perhaps they’ve been invited to an event they really don’t want to attend. There’s no use in you adjusting your entire schedule to force them into a situation they’d rather avoid.
- Be flexible: Really, the key to all of this … stay flexible in your ability to adapt to the needs of the larger family. This isn’t – and shouldn’t be – a battle.
- Don’t personalize: Following directly from the last item, the holidays are a stressful time in the best of situations. As you try to manage the activities of two families with two sets of priorities, the frustration levels can reach a critical point. Don’t lose sight of your overall goals and the fact that everything is not about you.
With these handy tips in mind, you have additional tools to use while navigating the often-stressful holiday season and a complex visitation schedule.