After divorce, it can be difficult for new co-parents to figure out how to navigate the holiday season. Maybe this is your first year since the divorce. You’ve never had to ask these questions before, and you know that it may be difficult for your children – not to mention you and your ex.
Rest assured that you can get through the season successfully and you can have a wonderful time. You just need to decide exactly how you’re going to do it. Here are a few things to consider.
Create a plan in advance
Last-minute changes to the plan can be very problematic. If you thought the children were coming to your house for Christmas morning and then your ex keeps them at their house, you’re likely to be very frustrated and angry. But if you plan in advance so that you both know the exact schedule, and then you stick to it, things will go far more smoothly.
Split up the holidays
You also have to decide when the children will be with you for the holidays and when they’ll be with your spouse. There are a lot of different options, such as splitting the day in half so the children spend half of the day with you and half with your ex, or having a joint celebration where both of you are present. What works for you simply depends on the dynamics of your personal relationship.
Creating new traditions
Some parents mourn the loss of family traditions when they get divorced, and that’s very understandable. But you can also look at this as a time to create new traditions. What are things that you and your children can do together that you may not have done when you were married to your ex? Establishing these traditions gives you all something to focus on in the years to come, making the holidays fun.
Talking to your children
Finally, take the time to talk with your children about what this is going to be like and what it’s going to mean. Ask them what they want and what they’re hoping for out of the holidays. Letting them have a say can make this far easier for them.
Above all else, make sure that you and your ex focus on putting the children first. You also need to know exactly what legal options you have to create the right schedule or to work through any complications.