Holidays can be challenging for divorced parents. Generally, the holidays are alternated, meaning that the children spend the holiday with one parent one year and the other parent the next year. If this is your first holiday without your children, it can be a lonely time. There are some things you can do to make holiday time fun and meaningful for your children and you, even if you do not have your child on the actual holiday.
Tips for Good Co-Parenting During the Holidays
Holidays can be emotionally difficult for everyone but this can be especially true for divorcing or divorced parents and their children. There are ways to make it work. Here are some tips.
- Create new traditions. If the children will be with their other parent on the actual holiday, do something creative with them in the days before the holiday. Make Christmas ornaments. Bake cookies. Make holiday cards and mail them out. Have a special meal. Avoid “new” traditions that replicate what the other parent will do with the children shortly thereafter, as this can create stress for the children and discord with their other parent.
- If you are alone on the holiday, create a tradition for yourself. Have a nice breakfast or lunch. Sign up for a “fun run.” If museums or movie theaters are open, visit them. Spend time with friends.
- If possible, spend time on the holiday together with the children and their other parent. If you can spend Christmas day together as a family, it can help children through the divorce transition, especially younger children.
- When you are making your holiday plans, you may want to get some input from older children, especially college age children. Keep in mind that even older children prefer that their parents are in charge and make plans. Children, even older children, should not be put in the position of choosing between spending time with you or their other parent.
- The children are also going through a transition, which can be emotionally difficult. Allow them to express their emotions. If they are with you, suggest that they call or FaceTime with the other parent to say Merry Christmas or Happy New Year.
Even when the children are with you on the holiday, they may feel sadness because the other parent is not with them. If you and your ex-spouse make your holiday plans keeping your children’s best interests in mind the, you can continue to co-parent in an amicable way and make new traditions for your family.
Contact Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law
For more information about divorce and the holidays, and how the collaborative process works, contact us at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law.