The holiday season has arrived. After a difficult divorce, celebrating with your family may be the last thing on your mind. However, your kids were impacted by the divorce as well, and it is crucial to take your kids and their feelings into consideration. If this is their first Christmas since the divorce, remember that how they spend the holidays can greatly impact their perception on the change in situation.
Here are some suggestions on how to make the holidays easier for children after a divorce:
1. Avoid conflict
If you and your ex-spouse are on good terms, you may want to consider having one celebration where the children can enjoy the company of both of their parents under the same roof. If, however, there is any risk of conflict or tension at all, then it would be better to for each parent to arrange a separate—but equally special—holiday celebration with the kids.
2. Talk with your children
Children find comfort and security in traditions and routines. Sit down with them and ask them what they’d like to do over the holidays. Let them know that even if some things will certainly need to change, some things will stay the same. Reassure them that you’re willing to keep other routines that are special to them. It may be a tough conversation to have, but avoiding this kind of conversation entirely will likely make it harder for your kids.
The holidays often bring a sense of madness to a person’s schedule. You may want to take a step back and slow down. Instead of dragging your children everywhere, cut down on the obligations that you can afford to miss and spend quality time with your kids instead. If you feel the need to spend time away from extended family for the time being, work things out with your family and ask them for their understanding and help.
4. Focus on the children
If you’re involved in a new relationship, it may be tempting to celebrate the holidays with your new significant other. However, you need to set aside your love life for the meantime and concentrate on making the holidays special for your children. Do activities and celebrate in ways that will make them happy. Introducing a new person too early—especially around the holiday season—might delay the healing process.
5. Coordinate with the other parent
Regardless of whether you are on speaking terms or not, do your best to communicate with the other parent to ensure you do not duplicate Christmas gifts or confuse your children by preparing back-to-back feasts. Work out the little details, such as where your children will be on what day and time, as well as when, where, and how your exchanges will take place.
6. Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas
Don’t make the holidays a competition on which parent gives the better gift or throws the grander celebration. Instead of showing them materialism, teach your children to appreciate the true meaning of the holiday season.