Shared Parenting at Christmas
With Christmas fast approaching, for parents who are not living together, agreeing access arrangements over the holiday can be a source of conflict and tension.
Damien Peelo, CEO of Treoir the National Federation for Unmarried Parents and their Children, suggests parents consider how they plan to share parenting well in advance of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and to use opportunities over the school holidays to be with your child and make those days special.
“Christmas is a very exciting time for children, and both parents may want to share in that excitement. Think about how you may arrange shared parenting over the Christmas holidays and how you can make your time with the children very special even if it is not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Planning ahead can help reduce some of the challenges involved in shared parenting, so if you haven’t discussed arrangements with the other parent, there is still time to do so.
“If both parents are not with their children throughout Christmas Day, is it possible for both parents to be with them when they open their presents, even via video call? If this is not an option, then consider when and where the other parent will give the children their presents. These may be difficult issues to negotiate but ignoring them until the last-minute may cause problems.
It’s good to bear in mind that grandparents will want to see their grandchildren over the holidays, and using the full holiday period is a good way for children to see both parents and their extended family over the holidays.
“If it is not possible for a parent to spend time with their child in person, they can send cards and presents in the post and/or talk to them on the phone, facetime, WhatsApp, or zoom.
“Finally, while it is always reassuring for children to see their parents co-operate, this is especially true at Christmas. Children need time to be aware of where they will spend Christmas and with which parent. Children also need to be assured that they will see both parents over the holiday where possible. It has been a difficult year for everyone, and it is important for parents and children alike to have a bit of down-time and enjoy the holiday.
We hope you all have a lovely Christmas Holiday!