Helping Children of Divorce Around the Holidays
Last updated 12/15/2006 at Noon
The holiday season is meant to be a time kids can remember forever. Most adults look back on the holidays of their youth and reflect fondly. However, with divorce rates on the rise, ensuring your children have a happy and memorable holiday season is no small task.
For divorced parents, deciding on how to approach the holiday season can be a tough call. The best approach is to remember the holidays should be a special time for kids, so consider the following when mapping out your holiday plans.
• Keep communication lines open: Keep your children abreast of the holiday plans, and decide well in advance where they’ll be spending the holiday. That way, they’ll have something to look forward to as the season wears on. Also, let them know you’ll miss them while they’re away but you’re happy they’ll be having fun. It’s a good idea as well to let them know you’re looking forward to their return.
• Plan an extra holiday: Kids will love the notion of having two holiday celebrations, and it affords both parents the chance to spend the holidays with their children. It also lets kids know they’re an important part of both their parents’ lives.
• Consider spending the holidays together: This option could be especially valuable to families that have recently gone through a divorce. Children find it especially hard to adjust to their first holidays not spent with the whole family, so if it’s possible for both parents to spend the holiday together, give it a try. Typically, this works best when the non-custodial parent comes over.
• Keep in touch: The parent who is not spending the holiday with the children should still make contact on the holiday to wish them a happy holiday. This is two-fold: it will let the children know you miss them and it will also help you deal with some of your own loneliness.
• Keep your own schedule busy: While it’s difficult for kids to spend the holidays without one of their parents, it’s hard for parents just the same. To quell some of the loneliness you’re likely to feel, consider attending a church service or public celebration. You might want to spend the holiday with friends or members of your own extended family as well. Don’t sit around and watch the time tick by, as such a day can be very depressing. If you’ll be spending the day after the holiday with your child, consider decorating your home while your child’s away to surprise them when they return home.