If you were to survey all Wisconsin households in your area, you’d likely find that many families have encountered challenges in their relationships during 2020 or in years past. Perhaps you’re one of many people in the state who are navigating or recently settled a divorce. If you have children, this will be your first holiday season as a newly single parent.

The last thing you need during the holidays is to spend all your time arguing with your ex. After all, not wanting to argue anymore may have been a factor that led to your divorce, so it’s understandable you’ll want to keep the peace with your ex as much as possible during the holidays. The good news is that, with amicable discussion and thorough preparation, you and your co-parent can devise a plan that keeps your kids’ best interests in mind.

Planning ahead is the key to avoiding confusion

Like all good parents, you want what’s best for your kids. As far as the first holiday season after your divorce is concerned, the less confusion your children have about where they will be staying or which parent will help them celebrate which holiday, etc., the easier it will be for them to cope with your divorce and move on in life in a healthy manner.

There are technically no rules for co-parents about holidays unless you have an existing court order that includes terms of agreement about the topic. If you do, then you and your ex must stick to your agreed-upon terms. Making a calendar to show how you will share or divide the holidays with your kids is a good idea. Talking things over and planning ahead helps avoid holiday stress.

Keep adult stress between adults

If your kids constantly see you and their other parent fighting, it might be difficult for them to enjoy their holidays. It also can cause them to be confused about their loyalty to you both. It’s not uncommon for disagreements to arise between co-parents, but it’s always best if you and your ex agree to keep adult issues between adults.

Your children do not need to know all the private details of what went on in your marriage or what you disagree about as life goes on after divorce. Some parents incorporate terms in their co-parenting plan to stipulate an agreement that they will not speak negatively about one another in front of their children.

If your kids are old enough, seek their opinions

You and your ex are the parents and are the ones who should be making the important decisions that affect your family. However, there’s certainly no harm in asking your kids how or where they’d like to celebrate their holidays. Children are innovative thinkers.

If you, your ex and your children approach holiday planning as a team, there’s likely to be co-parent arguments, and your kids may feel good about the fact that you’ve offered them input.

What if a problem arises?

If your children are supposed to be with your ex on a specific holiday, and he or she cancels, do you consider it a legal problem? The answer depends on more issues than one. Is your ex disregarding a court order? Does he or she always cancel planned visits?

Is your ex blaming you for the change of plans to try to turn your children against you? If you think there’s more going on than meets the eye, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for support. The sooner you resolve the issue, the sooner you can get back to celebrating the holidays with your kids.