Going through a divorce or separation during the holidays can be a very challenging time, especially if there are children involved. There are many new challenges for all members of the family, and on top of that there are the holidays. We understand how stressful the holidays can be, which is why we came up with some helpful tips and ideas to help make this holiday season as smooth as possible for you and your family.
- Try to make plans with your co-parent as soon as possible if you are not at the stage in the process where a parenting plan has been established with a set holiday schedule. The sooner everyone knows what is going on for the upcoming holiday, the more time everyone has to adjust. First try to work out a plan with your co-parent, if the two of you are not ready for that than seek the help of a third party such as an attorney or counselor.
- Be realistic when it comes to making holiday arrangements. This year won’t be like all the past years prior to your divorce or separation. It is important to share time with your co-parent whether that means spending half the day with your kids or dividing up holidays with your co-parent. Remember, it is all about give and take.
- Do not make your kids feel guilty for not spending the holidays with you. If they are spending Christmas with your co-parent, encourage it and help them through these new changes.
- Don’t feel like you have to start making new traditions right away, especially if your kids have not had a lot of time to process and accept the change of you and your co-parent no long being together. In the past if your family has always spent the holidays with one side of the family, allow your kids to do that again this year, even if that means not spending the holiday with you. Make new traditions the following year, once things become more normal and familiar for everyone.
- If you and your co-parent are waiting to begin the divorce or separation process until after the holidays, think about starting new traditions this year. This way, come the next holiday season things won’t seem so strange or different once the divorce or separation has occurred.
- Depending on how things are with your co-parent, try spending parts of the holiday season together. This could mean you all have Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner together, go to church together (if your family goes to church), or open presents together. Whatever you and your co-parent decide to do, use the holidays as an opportunity to show your children that you are still a unit, working together no matter what and always there for your kids whether your together or apart.
- Remember to be flexible, cooperative, patient, responsive, considerate, and a prior planner. The holidays are about giving, so even if you have the kids on Christmas Day, ask your co-parent if they’d like to see the kids or have dinner with them.
- Discuss gift giving with your co-parent early on in order to avoid buying duplicates of the same gift. This will help avoid awkward moments for your kids and ensure both of you are not over doing the holidays in an effort to make up for not spending them all together. Additionally, discuss with your co-parent the idea of giving one big gift to your kids together, maybe something you know they really want. This will once again help show your kids that you are both still one unit there for them no matter what.
For more helpful tips, visit the Huffington Post Parenting website for more articles and tips on how to make the holidays easier not only for your kids, but also for you.
We are located in downtown Nashua within walking distance of the Nashua Family Court. Please call us at 603-943-5647 and we will be happy to set up a consultation to help you come with an action plan.