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The holidays are coming up fast; co-parents need to be ready

Before you know it, the holidays will be upon you. If this is your first holiday season after your divorce, you may wonder whether all of the work you did on your parenting plan will pay off now. In an effort to make the season enjoyable for everyone, you may feel some stress.

If you are trying to make sure everyone enjoys the holidays now that your family dynamic has substantially changed, the stress only tends to multiply. Perhaps if you begin your planning now, you can lower the anxiety level for everyone involved.

Bring out your parenting plan

The first thing to do is look at your parenting plan. What arrangements did you and the other parent agree to regarding the holidays? If that schedule looks as though it will work, then you have one less thing to worry about. However, if you look at your schedule, talk to extended family, and discuss the matter with the other parent and your children, you could discover that what you thought would work simply won't.

In order to avoid conflicts later, you may want to sit down with the other parent and figure out what you can do. Understanding that some flexibility comes with the territory, you may be able to negotiate a schedule that will work better for you, your children and the other parent. Once you come to an arrangement, do what you can to not change it any further, especially at the last minute.

Things don't have to be perfect

You may put a great deal of pressure on yourself to make the holiday season "perfect" for your children. You may try to keep up traditions you followed during your marriage, but that might be a mistake. Instead, think about some new traditions that you could start and don't try too hard to make things perfect. What your children probably want more of is some quality time with you.

Since you probably won't get as much time with your children for the holidays now that you are divorced, make sure you spend every minute you can with them making new memories. This is yet another reason to get the planning stages out of the way as early as possible. By the time you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you may be able to relax and enjoy the season.

Get help if you need it

If you do end up with some conflict that you and the other parent cannot resolve on your own, you could consult with an attorney. The sooner you do so, the more time you will have to go to court if that's what is needed in order to find a solution to the problem.

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