If you’re like most parents, the only thing you want for your kids is their happiness – and when the holidays start to roll around, you worry a little bit (or a lot) more. The holiday season is right around the corner, and if you’re going through a divorce, or if you’ve just received your divorce decree and this is your first Halloween flying solo, here’s how you and your ex can help the kids have a great holiday.
Halloween During Divorce: How to Help Your Kids Have a Great Holiday
While you may not be great at co-parenting just yet, holidays like Halloween are definitely times to practice your skills. Even if you’re not actively co-parenting, it’s pretty likely that you and your ex have worked out an arrangement on who gets the kids on which holidays.
Planning ahead is the key. That way, even though your kids’ situations have changed due to the split, they can still enjoy the festivities.
Use these tips to make sure this Halloween is a good one for your children:
- Be prepared to cooperate with your ex.
- Make a plan.
- Figure out which parent has the responsibility of getting together costumes, even if it’s not the parent who’s taking the kids trick-or-treating.
- Set ground rules for your kids that you will both enforce.
- Start thinking about next year.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
#1. Be prepared to cooperate with your ex.
As always, your kids come first. During the holidays, while it’s tough to face the prospect of spending time without your children (and letting your ex have all the fun), it’s important that you do what’s fair to them.
Be ready to cooperate with your ex, whether you have Halloween outlined in your custody agreement or not. If they’re old enough, you can even ask your kids where they’d prefer to be or which parent they’d like to bring trick-or-treating.
#2. Make a plan.
Talk to your ex. Stay calm and rational, and let him or her know what you think the plan should be. If Halloween isn’t addressed in your custody agreement, you can discuss who will have the children that day – and find out whether your ex has any input. For example, if you have the kids on Halloween, maybe you’re willing to let your ex take them trick-or-treating (or vice-versa). If you’re not willing to, that’s okay, too; however, that could mean your ex will reserve future holidays that aren’t in your parenting time agreement for him- or herself, too.
#3. Figure out which parent has the responsibility of getting together costumes, even if it’s not the parent who’s taking the kids trick-or-treating.
If you have the kids most of the time, it might be more practical for you to put together costumes. You can offer – or ask your ex – to pay for the supplies, or you can take full responsibility. It’s between you and your ex, but remember that this is a great opportunity for you two to work together to co-parent your children.
Related: 13 co-parenting rules to live by
#4. Set ground rules for your kids that you will both enforce.
When the kids are old enough to trick-or-treat on their own, make sure you discuss the rules with your ex. It doesn’t matter if you’ll have the children on Halloween or your ex will – what matters is that you both agree to the rules you’re going to put in place for your kids, and that you’ll both be willing to enforce them. (That includes enforcing penalties for violations, such as when your kids come back too late and get grounded.)
#5. Start thinking about next year.
If you have the kids on Halloween this year, offer to let your ex have them next year – or ask if you can have them next year if he or she has them this year. These small trade-offs can make a lot of headway when it comes to cooperative parenting, and really, that’s what’s best for your children.
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