The year 2020 has delivered many hardships and heartaches. Whether you have been personally affected by COVID-19 itself (or have a family member or friend who has) or have managed to remain healthy, we have all been affected. Some have suffered job losses, schools just do not look the same, many are engaging in school at home guided by parents who are trying to navigate the virtual work and school environment. However, all negatives have a positive opposite. We have learned new skills, embraced technology, spent more one-on-one time with loved ones, and connected in new ways with our children. For divorced parents, co-parenting has become even more important, and many families have gotten creative to ensure that their children can still enjoy positive relationships with both parents. Co-parenting during the holidays is stressful in the best of times. Here are a few tips for co-parenting during the holidays in the midst of a pandemic.
First, try to get on the same page about the pandemic. Leading health experts are warning us that there will continue to be a rise in cases during the months of December through February, and many of us are seeing such a spike in our communities. The Texas Supreme Court has made it very clear that the pandemic does not override Court ordered possession schedules. However, if you or your child has been exposed, communicate with the other parent, quarantine when necessary, and keep everyone safe. But do not use the pandemic as an excuse to cut your child’s other parent out of the picture. Children still need love and time from both parents!
Second, spend true quality time and reconnect with your children during your possession time. Frequently, the holidays are filled with busyness and consist of just going places for the sake of going places. Participate in virtual events, watch holiday movies on Netflix, bake cookies and decorate! Talk to your kids, and give homemade Christmas presents! Make sure your children grow up to remember the Christmas of 2020 as the time they had fun with their parents at home!
Third, as many are experiencing financial difficulties, get back to the basics with your kids. Books, clothing, and maybe a single fun thing for Christmas. Make something for them! Encourage them to make something for family members, including their other parent. Get back to the spirit of generosity and hope this holiday season!
Family gatherings may be limited for the holidays, but you can always try a virtual one. A colleague told the story of her former spouse delivering pizza to her home for the children on his possession night while everyone was quarantined. They enjoyed a virtual evening together, shared a meal, and watched a movie! If you and your child’s other parent can spend time with them together, you give your children the gift of seeing co-parenting in action.
Finally, remember as a parent, the time your child spends with you is their time! Maintain consistency across households, cooperate on homework and other activities, and make it about them. Too many parents end up in court fighting over how they will spend their possession time, forgetting that it is their child’s time. Custody fights over Christmas only inflict harm on children. Let them be kids and have both parents!
Let’s close out 2020 with peace and hope that 2021 will bring us all new beginnings. And let us end it having chosen to look at the positives and the opportunities to connect with our children.
We at The Ramage Law Group wish you a wonderful Holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!