This holiday, thousands of divorced parents, for whatever reason, will not be able to meet face-to-face with their children. However, they still can spend quality time with them with some help from technology.
If you are in this situation, consider the following to help make this holiday brighter and merrier for you, and more importantly, your children:
Skype is a free and easy way to enjoy face-to-face time this holiday. Most laptops have built-in cameras, and Skype can be used on any computer with an internet connection. It is free to download the Skype software to your computers. If your children are too young to know how to do that, you will need the cooperation and assistance of your spouse.
A special video made by you for your kids can be recorded on a laptop or smart phone for little to no cost, and sent via email. They can watch it on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or any other time during the holidays when they want to "be with you." You can also take a short video with a smart phone. Creating a fun and memorable video is easier than you imagine.
Email, text, blog, Tweet or Facebook your kids to let them know that you are thinking of them. If you are not sure how, there are plenty of free, easy-to-follow tutorials online – or better yet, try asking your kids!
Using technology to send a message this holiday season isn't just for parents and their kids. Ex-spouses can get in on the hi-tech action – and reap the rewards – as well.
Ex-spouses may find communication between them during the holidays to be difficult, especially if their divorce is relatively recent. All kinds of emotions can emerge, and they can very easily slip into unpleasant conversations that may get in the way. Technology can make it easier to say "thank you," or other kind-hearted messages. A simple message that acknowledges the ex for having been there for the child or thanking them for specific acts of kindness towards you could be the most meaningful gift that you send – or receive – all holiday.
However, please be warned against using technology to communicate without first thinking things through.
However, Chan cautioned against using technology to communicate, without first thinking things through. "It's worth taking the time to draft what you want to say, before making a video or sending an email, just to ensure that the message is clear and appropriate. Emotions can be harder to convey, and easier to misinterpret, when people aren't face-to-face. And of course, people should never forget that their communication may not be confidential, especially if it's a Tweet or a Facebook post – even if the profile is set to private. So anything confidential or sensitive should be saved for a phone call or an in-person meeting."
Martha Chan is the co-owner and editorial director of Divorce Magazine and www.DivorceMagazine.com which were launched in 1996, both of which offer expert advice and professional resources to help individuals be informed and to divorce peacefully and intelligently. She is also the manager of a divorce blog: www.BlogsOnDivorce.com.