Easy Ways to Make the Holidays a Little Happier for Your Child of Divorce

Easy Ways to Make the Holidays a Little Happier for Your Child of Divorce

Easy Ways to Make the Holidays a Little Happier for Your Child of Divorce

Plan Ahead

Make a detailed holiday plan with your co-parent as far in advance as possible.  Plan everything out on a calendar, including pick-up and drop-off times and who will be providing transportation to what event.  Planning ahead can help reduce those last minute arguments about timing and the transfers will go more smoothly.  Children pick up on the built up tension during the drop-off / pick-up transfers, so anything you can do to plan ahead and make those transitions a little easier will help make your child’s holiday more enjoyable and make your life easier.  

Pick up the Phone 

If your child is with you for the holiday season, have him/her call the other parent.  This helps your child stay connected and is also, frankly, just the right thing to do.  Even if your court order does not require telephone contact on holidays, this can help make your child feel more comfortable. 

Go Shopping

When you got divorced you thought your days of buying gifts for your ex were over, but your child would probably like to be able to give the other parent a gift.  If there is a way to facilitate this, by helping your child shop for an inexpensive gift, or by helping your child make a card or gift, you will add to making your child’s holiday experience a little better. 

Over-Schedule Yourself 

If you do not have your child with you for the holiday, it’s likely this will be a hard time for you.  It is okay to feel sad, but you can stay busy enough to distract yourself.  Go to holiday parties and events so you will have something to do.  Do not give yourself time to let the sadness overcome you.  Focus on how you will celebrate the next time you are together with your child. 

Schedule Everything

There is nothing more annoying for a child of divorce to be scheduled to eat every family meal at 1:00 pm on Christmas Day and scheduled to be at every family event at the same time.  Whatever your family plans are, please try to coordinate with your co-parent what your dinner plans are and what time you plan on eating or doing gifts with your family.  This will help alleviate your child being being stressed on making each person’s dinner or having to leave festivities early.  Plan these times ahead and make it easier on your child. 

With young kids, the greatest gift of all can be a nap.  A nap is a gift you can give yourself, your child, your ex, and all the family who will be around your child.  It can be very difficult to stay on schedule at this time of year, but try your best to get a nap in at nap time for your child.  It might mean going a little late to a family party or leaving a little early, but it will be well worth it.  Keep nap time in mind when scheduling holiday transfer times and schedule well around it whenever possible.  

Go with a Gag Order

Plan ahead and agree early on with your ex that you will not discuss anything other than the business at hand when you are exchanging your child over the holidays.  If there are issues to be discussed about child support, alimony payments, future schedule changes, or issues you have with each other’s behavior, table them for a time when your child is not around.  Holiday celebrations preceded by parents arguing is not a very joyous time for your child. 

Lower Your Expectations

Every year it seems like the stores are breaking out the holiday decorations earlier and earlier.  This makes it too easy to build up the importance of the holiday seasons, so anything short of that magical winter wonderland event will fall short.  If you spend all of your time fixating on how perfect you can make it, the big day will not measure up.  It is fun to look forward to look forward to the holidays.  But do not let it take over your life, or your child’s.  

More is Not More 

Sometimes newly divorced parents think more gifts, more candy, more decorations, or more celebrations will help your child through the divorce process.  Be cautious in trying to distract your child.  You can spend all the money you want to distract your child, but it will not change the situation.  Resist the temptation to shower your child with gifts to try to make up for the divorce process.  If possible, talk with your co-parent about gift-giving so that it does not become a competition between the two of you. 

Embrace Traditions 

It is very common for kids to want things to be exactly the same as they remember them, but in your family nothing can ever be exactly the same.  Instead, you can take old traditions and fit them into your life in a new way.  Keep things that your child is familiar with and love, but build on them in new ways so that you can gradually create new traditions for your family.  

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