Holiday Co-Parenting Tips
Getting dressed up in costumes and enjoying fall festivities is a fun tradition for many families, but holidays can present special challenges for divorced parents. Co-parent’s commitment to peaceably sharing holiday time is in the best interest of their children. Even the most dedicated parents may find it difficult to share special holiday time.
Creative solutions allow parents and children to enjoy the holidays without tension. The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation has helped thousands of parents reach mutually beneficial agreements and offers some unique ideas to address the challenge of sharing holiday time. The key is to focus on the children and allow them time to celebrate with each parent.
Option One: Trick-Or-Treating with Both Parents at the Same Time
Some co-parents choose to take their children out trick-or-treating together. This can be an ideal situation if both parents are able to avoid conflict. When kids get to see their parents working together, it can add to the holiday excitement. Halloween is the perfect opportunity to show children that both of their parents are willing to put their differences aside to support and spend time with them—and the costumes and candy are just added bonuses!
Option Two: Trick-Or-Treating in Shifts
Another option is for one parent to take the children out trick-or-treating for an allotted amount of time followed by the other parent taking them out for an equal amount of time. This requires a bit of planning, but shows the children that both parents are committed to sharing the holiday fun with them. You can model teamwork for your kids, even if you don’t always get along. If you live in different neighborhoods, the children may be excited to trick-or-treat in both. And don’t forget to let the kids know that while they are having fun with their other parent, you will be busy enjoying other activities.
Option Three: Halloween/Fall Events
Rather than Halloween, opt to celebrate with fall festivals and activities, such as corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and hay rides to name a few. If possible, attend an event with both parents present. Find ways to compliment your co-parent’s efforts to spend time celebrating with your children. Children enjoy seeing their parents collaborate, even more than they enjoy candy! Remember, you can set differences aside and choose to make sure your children get to share the holiday with both parents.
Option Four: Gather Together
Halloween is a great time to invite other children and their parents over to celebrate together. Celebrating with a group makes the holiday extra fun. All of the festivities help cut down on the chances for awkwardness or tension between co-parents. Hosting a Halloween celebration is also a great opportunity to reach out to other single parents and build a network of support.
Option Five: Alternative Date
Some co-parents alternate Halloween night with the children every other year or celebrate on different days. On the actual holiday, the children celebrate with one parent, and then on the night before or after the holiday, they celebrate with the other parent. Be creative and establish new traditions. All kids would enjoy a special movie night, a Halloween-themed dinner, or candy scavenger hunt. Your children will come to love new Halloween traditions you created together just as much as traditional trick-or-treating.
Remember, the real joy lies in sharing time together. Focus on creating a fun and conflict-free Halloween. Establish clear plans in advance so that everyone will have a fun Halloween. To avoid confusion or stress for the children, do not involve them in the decision-making process. After the holiday, look back and review what worked and discuss ways to improve your future holiday time-sharing.
It is our hope these options are helpful to you and you are inspired to come up with creative solutions to address the challenges of co-parenting. Please remember to practice caution and safety on Halloween. No matter when or how you celebrate with your children, have a wonderful time. If you need assistance with reaching agreements, The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation offers Parenting Mediation services.