Managing childcare over Christmas can be tricky even at the best of times. At present, Christmas 2020 is not looking like it’s going to be the best of times. In addition to the usual challenges of making sure both parents get a reasonable amount of time with their children, COVID19 will probably have to be a major consideration.
It’s no secret either that trying to manage and improve your health and wellbeing during lockdown may have resulted in close relationships to be some-what tense and with Christmas on the horizon, having a plan prepared for several outcomes will hopefully give you and your family an easier experience, especially if you’re separated.
Here, Kerry Smith, founder of K J Smith Solicitors provides some tips for managing this situation.
Schedule a time to discuss the situation with your ex
Treat this discussion like the important business meeting it effectively is. Make sure you’ve thought about your goals and where you are and are not prepared to compromise. Do any necessary research but be prepared for it to become outdated between now and Christmas.
Ideally, you and your ex will have this discussion in person in a quiet, comfortable place. If that’s not possible, then at least make sure you are both in a quiet place, where you can talk comfortably without shouting.
If you’re currently experiencing a rocky patch with an ex-partner and want to be as amicable as possible over the Christmas period, here are some helpful tips on ways to overcome insecurities in a relationship. This same tips can still apply no matter the stage of your relationship.
Remember that your children’s safety has to come first
It’s understandable that you want the festive season to be a time you make amazing memories with your children. This year, however, keeping your children safe from COVID19 is probably going to need to be your top priority.
What’s more, you may find yourself subject to restrictions on socializing and co-parenting through COVID19, even with close family such as children.
This means that you may want to build your plans on the basis of a worst-case scenario. You could then agree on potential options for what you could do if it is legal and safe at the time. On this logic, one of you is likely to have to agree to “see” the children remotely if a lockdown is in place.
Similarly, you might want to look at arrangements for altering childcare arrangements quickly if someone becomes ill. Your standard arrangements may not be effective against COVID19 at Christmas. Firstly, you might not have access to your usual stand-in carers such as grandparents. Secondly, you might have transport issues over the festive season.
Keep touching base with your ex about Christmas arrangements
Ideally, you’ll arrange as much as you can in advance, even if it means duplicating effort. For example, you might want to stock up on Christmas food in both houses. That way if one parent has to step in suddenly, the children can still get a proper Christmas meal.
Similarly, you might want to get presents early so they can be appropriately divided. This isn’t about spending more money than usual. It’s about making sure that children can still have a good time even if the Christmas arrangements have to be changed at short notice.
Getting your gifts early will also give you a chance to ensure that they are free of the virus. This is as important with new gifts as it is for pre-loved ones. Depending on the nature of the gift, you may be able to clean it. Alternatively, you may need to leave it for the virus to die off naturally. Check up-to-date guidance on how long this should be.