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Advice For Divorcing Parents This Holiday Season

From carving pumpkins and turkeys to baking cookies and attending school programs; even under normal circumstances, holidays tend to be a hectic time. For parents of young children who are going through a divorce, this holiday season is likely to be especially stressful as both they and their children navigate and adjust to numerous life changes.

For parents who share physical custody, it’s important to be proactive and to take steps to communicate with an ex about your children’s holiday schedule. This process can be both emotionally and logistically challenging, but there are ways to make it easier on both yourself and your children.

3 Holiday Co-parenting Tips For Divorcing Parents

  1. Put Your Children First – The first holiday season after a separation is bound to be a big adjustment for all family members. While the prospect of spending time apart from a son or daughter on a particular holiday may seem unbearable, it’s important to recognize and put your children’s needs and best interests first. Try to keep things in perspective and remember that you can celebrate together later regardless of the actual calendar day.
  2. Plan Ahead, But Be flexible – While the importance of solidifying holiday plans and a corresponding custody schedule well in advance cannot be overstated, it’s important to understand that things may come up. Bad weather, a bout with the flu and an unexpected visit from a beloved aunt are all examples of things that may warrant changes to a holiday custody schedule.
  3. Start New Traditions – Prior to a split, your family may have engaged in certain traditions to mark and celebrate the holiday season. In light of an impending divorce, it’s important to continue to carry on those traditions you enjoy and to also start your own traditions. Discovering new fun activities and making them part of your family’s holiday traditions can help you and your children connect, heal and move forward.

The holidays are about spending time with the people you love. If you’re a parent who is spending your first holiday season separated from a spouse, this can be an emotional time. By being proactive and taking steps to communicate with an ex to solidify your children’s holiday custody schedule, you can make this time of year less stressful and conflict-ridden for both you and your children.

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