Each year you pledge that the holiday season will be different. Stress free. Well-planned. And for once, the kids won't be disappointed by last minute changes to the holiday visitation schedule. Unfortunately, as hard as you work to stick to your family's pre-planned holiday visitation schedule, pulling it off isn't entirely up to you. Here are some practical suggestions to help you make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to holiday visitations:
2. Plan AheadUnfortunately, there will be many dates that you simply have no control over, such as the date of your child's school concert or holiday production. In addition, there will likely be parties and various event that your kids will want to attend, and that could mean that your family will want to tweak the pre-planned schedule a bit. In order to factor these dates into the holiday visitation schedule, record them on your calendar as soon as you receive notice about them.
3. PrioritizeIt's very possible that your kids' holiday schedules will be so packed with visits to see extended family members that they will have to say "no" to some social invitations. Realize that this happens in every family, and learning to prioritize which events are most important to them, and communicate their feelings clearly and respectfully, is an important life skill.
4. Teach the Kids to Speak for ThemselvesWhile you might be tempted to approach the other parent yourself and explain why the kids would rather attend an event with their friends on a given night, it's really best to teach them to communicate their desires themselves. This can be done through a simple three-step process:
- Acknowledge the plans that were already in place
(For example, "I know we were planning to...")
- State the desire
("...but I received an invitation to...and I would really like to...")
- Suggest a compromise
("Is there any way we could...")