As you and your co-parent work out your parenting schedule, you’ll likely negotiate a “typical” school week schedule and then work out summer as well as winter and spring break schedules. You’ll include holidays that are important to your child or the family where you may both want to spend time with them on or at least near the actual celebratory event.
As you’re working out how to spend important holidays, don’t forget your child’s birthday. That’s an occasion nearly every child considers a big deal, at least through their teens.
Options for your child’s birthday
There are many ways to make a birthday schedule. Which one you choose will depend on things like what time of the year the birthday falls, how close you and your co-parent live to one another, what kind of custody arrangement you have and what day of the week the birthday is on (which, of course, will change every year).
Assuming that you have roughly equal custody for simplicity’s sake, let’s look at a few examples of how you can set this up so that the parent who doesn’t have the child on their birthday can celebrate with them.
That parent could have them for a few hours in the evening for a birthday dinner (or in the morning for breakfast if it’s not a school day). They could also take them overnight the night before their birthday.
Another option would be to have the child on their birthday on alternate years. If your child isn’t going to see their parent on their birthday, they must be able to video chat with them so that no parent ever has to completely miss out on that special day.
Celebrating their birthday together
Of course, if you and your co-parent get along well and can plan a birthday party together (or at least be present at the same party) without friction, that may be preferable for everyone. Eventually, your child probably will prefer to spend their birthday with friends and be happy with some money or an Amazon gift card from each of you.
While you might think you and your co-parent can “play it by ear” and figure out your child’s birthday yourselves each year, it never hurts to have a plan codified so you have something to refer to if you can’t agree.