For some divorced or separated parents, holiday parenting time may be a difficult time of year as their children may spend more time with the other parent and less time with them. Changes in a parent’s daily routine with his or her children may result in the parent feeling anxious, sad, or lonely.
Assuming the children are safe and enjoying their holiday time with their other parent, here are some tips to help parents get through the holidays.
Tips to Deal With Holiday Parenting Time.
1. Plan Household Projects
Tackle a long overdue project such as cleaning out closets, de-cluttering the home or painting a room. Determine items to donate, such as outgrown clothes and shoes. Put together a pile for trash or shredding. Organize drawers, closets and pantries. Turn on some music if the task gets boring. Surprise the kids upon their return by reviving a room with a fresh coat of paint.
2. Catch Up on Everyday Tasks
Put into action your to-do list of everyday tasks that have been put on the back burner. Tasks may include sewing (adjusting hems and replacing buttons), budgeting (reviewing income and expenses), and cleaning (doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms). If there is a written list of tasks and the tasks are crossed off one by one when completed, it can provide a feeling of accomplishment and motivation.
3. Schedule Time with Friends
The keyword here is “schedule”. Set a specific date and time to meet with friends instead of just “playing it by ear”. Plan to do something fun or uplifting such as seeing a comedy, visiting a museum that interests you, or simply going for a walk or hike. The activity does not have to cost a lot of money. The point is to relax and enjoy time with friends.
Research volunteer opportunities in your area. Check out local soup kitchens, food pantries, or animal shelters. See if they need help during the holidays and find out their requirements for volunteering. Hospitals, religious institutions, and charitable organizations may also have volunteer opportunities.
5. Reserve Time for Yourself
Take time to do things that you normally may not have the time to do, and enjoy it. For example, go for a long walk or bike ride, read a book non-stop, watch a movie, get a massage, or sleep in late. You can also consider taking the time to learn or improve a skill or hobby such as sewing, painting, knitting, or crafts.
6. Reflect and Learn
Take some time to look back and reflect on the past year. Determine lessons that were learned from past mistakes. Pat yourself on the back for things done well. Identify your interests. Figure out realistic goals moving forward. Make a list of tasks that will need to be done in order to achieve the goals. Include a timeline with the goals and revisit it periodically to adjust if needed.