Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Make holiday plans early if you have a difficult work schedule

Navigating a child custody arrangement is always difficult for workers in the oil industry. Their work schedules sometimes take them away from home for long periods and often on special days. It is imperative that both parents take the time to consider these aspects when making holiday plans.

Even if neither parent is in the oil industry, there are plenty of other careers that also make it hard to make plans for this time of year. Ultimately, working out the details in advance of the major events can reduce stress levels.

Get out your calendar

Start by writing out the work schedules for both parents. This gives you an outline of when the children will have time to spend with each parent. If there are days when neither adult is off work, you should plan for child care, if needed. This might be a great opportunity for the children to spend time with a grandparent, aunt, uncle or another family member.

Next, add in any special events that you know about. School plays, church events and family gatherings are all on this list. You and your ex can work out a plan so the children can take part in as many of these memory-making activities as possible.

Plan for alternative activities

If you are going to be away from your children on the major holidays of the season, make plans to do something special with them when they are with you. Don't become so focused on the date on the calendar that you forget that happy memories can be made any day with the right mindset.

Take your children to look at Christmas lights at Vermilionville or Acadian Village or have a night at home making cookies and drinking hot chocolate. You can do these even if they won't be with you on Christmas day. Plan to open presents when you are done with these activities. The key is finding things that the children will enjoy that you can do when you have them.

Always check the parenting plan to ensure that you are in compliance when making plans. If you notice any conflicts, take the time to address them now so that you won't have to work things out at the last minute.

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