Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard for children to understand. Even after divorce papers are signed and everything is completed legally, you will still need to figure out how to co-parent and establish a relationship that supports your children through this new life transition. When the holidays come, it can be an especially emotional time for children because the traditions that they once had will likely change. Here are some helpful tips on co-parenting during the holidays.
Tip #1: Work as a team.
You may not be a married couple, but as parents, you’ll need to work together as best as you can. Make decisions on the holidays together, in joint effort, as much as possible. It is most important to stand united in order to show support to your children. Figure out some ideas together on things that can help ease the transition, while working to build some positive new memories during the holidays.
Tip #2: Listen and communicate well with the kids.
Divorce can be very impactful on children and it may cause them to ask many questions as to why it happened. Continue to keep the lines of communication open always, expressing that their questions, feelings, and opinions are valuable. This will help them feel heard and help them feel the love that you have for them during this huge time of change.
Tip #3: Create new traditions.
The holiday season is full of various traditions – picking out and/or decorating the Christmas tree, having family dinners, opening gifts, or attending holiday performances together. When a divorce happens, it will likely require you to think of some new traditions that can be formed. Figure out a few new ideas, then talk with your kids on what additional things they would like to start now that life has changed a little. This gives them some ownership in the process and can help get them excited for the holidays rather than having them dread what is “different” about everything.
Raising kids is a big job but raising them after divorce means you’ll need to work to adjust your regular routines into something new. No matter what, keeping your children as your primary focus sets them up for success.