The holidays are full of excitement, magic and surprised for children. But for children of divorced parents, the holidays can also be a time of stress and change. As traditions are changing and a new normal is being created, children may find themselves lost in the chaos. It’s important that children feel valued and important during the holidays. Here are a few tips to ease some stress this year and create a magical holiday season for your children:
1. Choose a new perspective.
As your children navigate a new kind of holiday season and try to create new traditions, help your children find a more positive outlook. Encourage them to consider how the new arrangement will mean a longer holiday season as they have double the celebrations to attend. Create new, fun traditions that allow them to see how their new normal might be even more fun than before.
2. Think back on good times.
In order for your children to adjust to a divorce, they need to be able to speak openly and positively about their other parents. Encourage them to share fond memories from holidays past, and ask them about their time with their other parent when they come to see you. Encouraging these types of positive thoughts will allow your children to associate good memories with the holiday season and remind them of everything they have to be thankful for.
3. Don’t speak ill of your child’s other parent.
Find ways to speak nicely about your ex-spouse around your children. This will show them that their parents are mature and respectful, and assure them that they are still loved and cherished, even if their parents are not together. It will also give them the freedom to not choose sides or get caught in the middle. Remember, your divorce is not your child’s fault, so don’t subject them to your ill feelings about their parent. Shield your children from conflict regarding holiday schedules and reassure them that their parents are still working together, even from a distance.
4. Put your differences aside.
The holidays are the best time to set aside your disagreements with your ex-spouse and put your children first. Don’t let your negative feelings towards your ex-spouse affect the way your children celebrate the holidays. Find ways to appreciate little things about your child’s other parent and vocalize them so that your children can feel safer and more at peace.
5. Come together.
If you can find a way to unite over your children and create a safe, happy place for holiday celebrations, it might be a good option to celebrate the holidays together. This will take a great deal of maturity and humility, but your children will thank you for it later on down the road. Of course, it’s important to recognize that this may not be in the best interest of your children, but consider what would make your child happy. A meal with both of their parents may be the best gift you can give them this season.
Whatever you have planned for this holiday season, if you are navigating a divorce, remember to put your child first and consider what is in his or her best interest. Create a peaceful, safe, happy place for your child to celebrate the holidays.