We all love Christmas but it can be a difficult time for some families .On the 4th day of Christmas I would like to share some thoughts about children's arrangements over the festive period ,its a special time for children so we at Freeths hope the focus can be on making plans that they will enjoy and remember .
1. Make arrangements early In my experience the earlier you can agree and make arrangements for holiday periods, including Christmas, the better. Families often have gatherings for their extended family and events which they would like to attend with the children so planning in advance provides certainty and is better for all concerned. 2. Ask the children I say this with some reservation. I am not suggesting that children should be asked to make any decisions but it is always a good idea, subject to their age, to listen to their views and to hear what they are saying so their wishes and feelings can be recognised. 3. Consider arrangements on an alternate yearly basis Perhaps when planning for one year you might look ahead to the following year. A lot of families alternate Christmas Day or Boxing Day and /or share some of the festive holiday time. If there is a routine arrangement that works then keep it going. 4. Emergencies Try to pre-empt any problems and issues and consider emergency plans. Sometimes even the best laid plans have to change and often at short notice. Adults and children can often both be disappointed because contingency plans are not in place. 5. Welfare of the children It goes without saying that if you ask the court to determine on arrangements for the children over Christmas a decision would be made about what is in the children’s best interests. So make the welfare of the children the main driver in any parental decisions that you make. 6. Mediation If you reach an impasse about the arrangements then consider going to see a family mediator. If you can sit round the table with a facilitator to discuss child arrangements and agree them it is far better than taking legal steps. 7. Consider Skype or FaceTime If there is a gap in a parent seeing their child, or a distance between you and the children are old enough consider using modern technology for a face to face chat about what Christmas presents Santa has delivered. 8. Travel Sometimes contact arrangements fall foul of travel problems and/or the weather. Take into account travel time and any possible delays and the effect on the children if there is a problem with the planned arrangements. 9. Communicate Being good parents is about communication. This may be difficult but all research shows that a better adult relationship makes for a happier separated family. 10. Celebrate twice A good way to promote the sharing of time over Christmas is to suggest to the children that they can enjoy it twice. This may not work for everyone but in some circumstances it can be a good idea to plan for Christmas to be celebrated in two households on different days. 11. Do unto others In the spirit of Christmas behave as you wish others to, compromise is often not easy particularly when emotions are involved .There is support out there if you are struggling to deal with these issues. 12. Have fun Try to be flexible about the arrangements and have fun.