Going through divorce during the holidays is never easy. Whether parents are in the process of finalizing a divorce or have recently gotten divorced, it is no longer assumed that they will spend holidays together with their children. With Christmas approaching, divorced parents who are new to co-parenting may be wondering how to manage family holidays with their children. There are several options and strategies for divorced parents to consider ensuring a smooth and enjoyable transition for both themselves and their children this season.
Here Are Tips On How to Handle Divorce During the Holidays
Coordinate With Former Spouse
Communication with your former spouse is key for a smooth transition into your first holiday season apart. Make sure both parents are clear about dates, times, and schedules outlined in the court order to avoid potential confusion or conflict. Discussing holidays plans with your-ex spouse will also help alleviate any guilt or sadness your children may be experiencing for spending certain days with one parent but not the other.
Make New Traditions
Due to custody scheduling, parents tend to alternate who spends each holiday with the children. If you can’t spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah with your children, make sure you remember to enjoy the time that you can spend with them. If you can’t celebrate on the official date of the holiday, plan a fun dinner or outing with your kids to make the celebration unique and memorable for your children. By creating new traditions, your child has something to look forward to with both parents.
Set Expectations for Your Children
Just as communication is essential with your former spouse, it is also important to keep your children in the loop regarding holiday plans. This will reassure the children that both parents will be spending time with them and that they are not being left out of any festivities. Allow them time to express their concerns or suggestions for new holiday traditions, so that they feel as though their opinion is valued when important family decisions are made.
Don’t Make Celebrating the Holidays a Competition
Feeling the need to make your child’s holiday experience with you better than their experience with your ex-spouse will add unnecessary stress to yourself and will put a strain on your relationship with your children. There is no need to overspend on gifts to try and outdo your former partner because this will give your children the wrong idea of what the holidays are really about: spending time with the ones you love. A great way to avoid the temptation to compete is to coordinate with your ex-spouse before the holidays to discuss gift ideas for your children. This will ensure that each child gets what they want and that the gifts from both parents appear to be equal.
Yes, divorce during the holidays can be hard. If parents follow these strategies during the holiday season you and your ex-partner will have a higher likelihood of enjoying the festivities this year. Both your children and other family members will thank you for it. Everyone deserves a relaxing holiday season in which they get to spend time with loved ones.