Although the temperature outside recently may convey otherwise, the holiday season is fast approaching. Whether this is your first holiday season after a divorce or you’re an old pro at it, the holidays can be a difficult time for children of divorce. Holidays and the schedules that go with them require a level of communication and planning that may be difficult for some parents. Here are some helpful tips to make your holidays a little easier.
Gift Giving/ Sharing
When children are young and “Santa” brings gifts, it’s crucial for parents to communicate about what gifts will be delivered to each house. Imagine the confusion a 6 year old would have if the prized Santa gift showed up at both houses. Making a chart like the one below, and sharing it through e-mail or a shared calendar will help alleviate much of the potential confusion with gift giving. Additionally, one parent may be more financially secure than the other; this can allow both parents to contribute to some of the big gifts for older children.
It’s important for parents to have conversations about which gifts the children are receiving and which gifts are off limits, and when, if ever, that gift would be appropriate. If one parent insists that 10 years old is too young for a cell phone, it would not fare well if the other parent purchased the 10 year own their own phone.
Another aspect of gift giving to discuss with your co-parent is whether or not the children will be buying gifts for their parents. If the children are purchasing a gift for each parent, make sure to discuss a budget with each other that you’re both comfortable with. This can be a really great way to show your children that you’re both still their parents and still value and respect one another.
With the holidays come special events, whether it’s a school concert, play or an annual tradition to see a performance like the Nutcracker. These events are important and children look forward to them. When there is strain and stress in a family, these events can cause anxiety and worry in children. It is important to be accommodating regarding these events and not look at them as time “lost” with your child if the other parent is taking them, but as an opportunity to start your own new traditions that your children will look forward to.
The most important thing to remember about the holidays is that it should be primarily about your children and what makes them happy and feel loved by both parents. Working together may be difficult for the adults, but it makes a world of difference for your children.