It can be hard for some parents to co-parent when it’s new. Now add in the holidays and trying to maintain established traditions. This is where a lot of emotions and heated discussions can surface.
With our years of experience dealing with families who recently separated, here are some tips to help with family dynamics during the holiday season.
- Make arrangements well in advance:
Never wait until the last minute to have that difficult conversation of where the children will be during the holiday break. The more time you leave to discuss the holiday schedule, the easier it will be to plan, adjust if necessary and discuss it more calmly.
- Consider what the kids want:
Discuss with your child/ren in advance of the holidays how they are going to be spent. Small child/ren may have some apprehension especially if they are worried about Santa knowing where to deliver their presents. Reassure them and they will have a better time coping. Don’t make children spend most of the days in a car going back and forth between celebrations.
- Be prepared to compromise
Remember your child/ren want to make and share memories with both parents and extended family. There is value in compromising with your former partner about issues. Allowing one parent extra time on Christmas Eve, especially if this is not as important of a celebration to you as it is to them, could save you time, money, anguish and may be remembered when asking for extra time later on.
- Be prepared to feel sad about the changes while making your own new traditions
It’s okay if you aren’t always feeling the Holiday Cheer. Allow yourself to feel sad, but don’t spend your whole holiday feeling this way. Find things to do to keep yourself busy. Visit family and friends or plan a local excursion. Curl up in a fluffy blanket with a warm cup of cocoa and a bowl of popcorn to watch our favourite Christmas movie…Die Hard.