Helpful Tips for Parents and Professionals

Divorce: Kids and the Holidays

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Divorced Families Experience More Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are a time of celebration and time with family. Unfortunately, this often creates extra challenges and stress.  For most families, the holiday chaos can be tricky to navigate and stress levels can skyrocket.  For children of divorce, splitting holiday plans can be even more challenging. divorce, holidays To ensure that the holiday season is a success for you and your kids, here are a few tips to guide the process.

Divorce and the holidays: Communicate ahead of time.  For those parenting out of two households, it is important to discuss holiday plans and arrangements.  Going through important dates ahead of time can alleviate common divorce arguments and misunderstandings about who gets the kids when.  Equally important is discussing other significant dates and events that come with the holiday season. Some examples are school concerts and holiday performances.  Planning to have both parents involved in these special events can bring added joy  to your child during this time.

Speaking of your kids, remember to include them in the discussion about holiday plans and schedules.  Keeping your children in the loop helps them to feel included. This can give them a sense of control amid all the family changes taking place.  This also reassures them that their needs and feelings are being considered during the process.

Divorce and the holidays: Make new traditions. 

While it may be hard initially to adjust to spending the holidays in two different households, beginning new traditions with each parent can be memorable and fun!  Consider new things to do as a family, adding new traditions that our special and unique to each home.  Maybe kids bake cookies and dance to music with one parent and have a silly gift exchange with the other.  This will become the new meaning of the holiday over the years, and your child will anticipate and look forward to all the new traditions.

Focus on the kids

Remember to focus on the time you have with your child.  This can be a difficult transition for any family, but especially for kids who have holiday split-time that comes with a divorced family.  Kids are very aware of, and often feel guilty, about leaving one of their parents to spend time with the other.  Be mindful of this and let your child know that you will be okay without them. Tell them that you want to enjoy all the time you spend with them.  Carve out as much quality time as possible, so everyone can enjoy the holiday season together.

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