The first holiday after a divorce can be extremely difficult. It can become even more complicated when children are involved. Where will your children spend the holidays now? Will you spend the holidays completely alone? What if you and your ex-spouse both want to spend the same holidays with your children?
Every divorced parent has asked themselves these questions at some point. Consider the following three tips as you plan your holiday schedule after a divorce:
1. Determine a fixed, alternating or split schedule
You should first determine which holidays are most important to you and your ex-spouse. If you and your ex-spouse believe that different holidays are important, a fixed schedule will allow you to spend the same holidays with your children every year. If you and your ex-spouse want to spend the same holidays with your children, an alternating schedule allows you to swap holidays with you children every year.
If you are in the same city as your ex-spouse, you could even try splitting the holiday in half. The issue with this arrangement is that you want to make sure your kids are not spending the majority of their holiday in the car and that you have clear communication with the other parent. Otherwise, the holiday could be ruined in the event of a mix-up.
2. Create new holiday traditions
Holiday traditions do not always need to occur on the holiday itself. If you are not spending a certain holiday with your children this year, create a new holiday tradition that occurs in the days or weeks before or after. For example, if your children are spending Christmas with their other parent this year, start a tradition to stay up all night watching Christmas movies later in the week. Your children might begin to enjoy a new tradition with you, just as much as they enjoy the normal holiday with their other parent.
3. Focus on your children, not yourself
You obviously want your children to spend the holidays with you. However, it is important to remember your children’s feelings are what matter the most. Try not to put them in the middle of you and your ex-spouse. One of the most hurtful things to do to children is to make them feel guilty for spending a holiday with another parent. Remember that it is just one day out of the entire year. Make sure you are spending taking advantage of your time with them on the normal days as well.
The holidays should be a fun time for everyone. While the upcoming holidays might look a little different than years in the past, you have the ability to make them just as special.