The holidays are a time for family and joy, but for a divorced family, the holidays present a variety of challenged. A major concern for divorced parents is the gift giving process. Whether the gift is for the holidays, for a birthday, or for a special event like graduation, parents want only the best for their child. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of tips for divorced parents on giving gifts. Learn the best ways to share the gift giving process with your fellow co-parent this holiday season and beyond.

Agree To Leave Competition Out Of It

This is an issue that we see all too often. Once a divorce is finalized, both parents begin competing with one another to be the favorite. While this situation is bad for children in general, it is especially heartbreaking to see around the holidays. Ex-spouses acting in the best interest of their children agree to spend equal amounts or match gifts. Competing for children’s’ attention will only cause them stress in the long run.

Coordinate Gifts

Communicate with your ex-spouse about what you are buying for the kids. This way, everybody avoids hurting each other’s feeling with duplicate presents. Coordinating ahead of time leads to co-parenting gold medals. The communication enables parents to buy big ticket items by splitting the cost. Heck, strong coordination creates the possibility for a blended gift opening at one house. The major advantage of that is avoiding travel on Christmas Day, when it is much nicer to be relaxed at home.

Don’t Limit The Use Of Gifts

Unless the gift truly cannot be moved (for example, a basketball hoop), do not limit how or where a child plays with their toys. A common problem is a parent gifting a kid an awesome present and immediately following up with restrictions. “You can’t take this toy out of my house” is equivalent to “You can’t drive the car off the lot.” Such limitations make kids feel stifled and resentful, never a good combination.

If a gift can’t be moved due to inconvenience, such as the above-mentioned basketball hoop, or fragility, such as a video game console, find balance. If dad gives little Johnny a nice new basketball hoop, let mom balance it out with a new Playstation. This ties into the coordination tip above.

A gift that has to stay in one place is not much of a gift for a kid that lives between two houses. Consider simply making that gift a part of your child’s space at your house. Rather than give a ift that has strings attached.

Take The High Road

Sometimes, the best gift you give your child is being cordial with your ex-spouse. If the children want to do family Christmas activities, make the time. It is one of the prime examples of a parent putting a child’s needs ahead of their own. This consideration is especially important during the holiday season.