For many former spouses who are transitioning into the role of co-parents post-divorce, the holiday season can be very difficult. This is especially the case for parents who may not be able to spend as much time with their children as they would like during the holidays due to a custodial arrangement.
Now that the holidays are coming to an end, many parents may look back on the past few months and contemplate ways to make the time they do have with their children memorable and special post-divorce, and also ways to deal with the alone time they face while their children are away. Below are a few suggestions for co-parents seeking to have happy holidays during the festive seasons to come.
Talk to your children. First, remind your children that any feelings of sadness is only natural, especially if they are not able to share time with their other parent. Next, listen. Allow them to share their thoughts, feelings, and even their ideas on how to make new holiday memories going forward.
Make new memories. After taking time to talk with your children, take the time to implement some of the ideas proposed. If both you and your children are at a loss on ways to make new memories during the holiday season, some suggestions include: changing when and how you decorate the tree and exchange gifts, trying new dishes during holiday meals, or planning new holiday activities that both you and your children can enjoy together, such as a community service event.
Be creative during the downtime. Finally, during the time that you are not able to spend with your children during the holidays, resist the urge to dwell on loneliness or past memories. Instead, focus that energy on thinking about activities that you and your children can enjoy during your next visit. Also, keep in contact with your children during the holiday season. Although you may not be able to spend each moment of the season with your children, communicating with them on a regular basis via email, text, FaceTime or Skype may be the perfect way to ease their anxiety. When you are not able to communicate with your children, find other ways to refocus your energy, such as traveling or spending time with other family and friends.