By Rachel Sparks

The holidays are meant to be a time for family, friendship, and joy, but for a lot of families there’s the stress of a divided household. Co-parenting can be stressful even at the best of times, but not everyone has an amicable relationship with their ex. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez set high standards for what co-parenting looks like, and not all of us can reasonably achieve such a peaceful situation.

Read Cupid’s parenting tips to navigate holiday stress.

While you may want to have your child(ren) on the exact day of the holiday, it’s fair to assume your ex does, too. If you divide the holiday in half, then you don’t get to enjoy all of your traditional celebrations without feeling rushed. So, how can you and your kids enjoy the holidays stress-free? Here’s Cupid’s relationship advice:

1. It’s about the kids: Remember this as you feel frustrated with your ex’s time demands. Any time with a parent is seen as magic for your kid, so don’t spend that time being angry or disappointed. Remember, too, that kids can sense when you’re upset, so put aside emotions when you’re interacting with your ex to show the kiddos that mom and dad can get along.

2. Set up a routine: Children thrive off of routine, but so do co-parents with busy schedules. What’s more, if a schedule has been written, it cuts down on emotional communication about the holidays. If not, then work on compromising holidays with your ex and setting up a schedule you can both respect. It will take a lot of pressure off of future conversations.

Related Link: Co-Parents: See How Stars Manage to Raise Their Children Post-Split

3. Find effective communication: If seeing your ex’s face makes you want to hit something, consider an alternative way of communicating. Again, remember that co-parenting is still about raising a happy and successful adult. Shouting wars will not be conducive to the lessons you teach. If even hearing their voice makes you cringe, resort to e-mail; it’s impersonal and typically gives an air of professionalism.

4. Terminology: Everyone knows to watch what you say about your ex in front of your kid, but also think about how you say something. Instead of saying, “This is my ex,” which likely brings up a painful history for your child, say, “This is my child’s father/mother.” It allows the child to take ownership and pride in their parents, something every child and parent wants.

Related Link: Parenting Tips: How to Cope With Stress

5. Try parallel parenting: Co-parenting requires both parents to remain pretty active in not only their child’s life, but their ex’s. Parallel parenting is still being involved with your kid, but keeping it hands off and at a distance with your ex. Communication is at a minimum and when the kids are at your house, it’s just about you and them, not what the other parent is doing.

How have you dealt with co-parenting during the holidays? Share your advice below!