In a recent post, we discussed some tips for parents navigating the holidays for the first time after a divorce. However, parents are not the only ones who need extra support during the holidays. Children of divorced parents also face challenges.
To help your children have a happier holiday season, here are some things you can do.
Happiness and excitement may not come naturally for a parent who is worried about money and still recovering from a difficult split.
However, showing enthusiasm and positivity around your children makes it easier for them to be excited, as well.
Don’t try to “win” at gift-giving
It may seem like buying your children everything they want will give them the best experience. However, this strategy often backfires. Not only can it be expensive and create financial stress, it can turn the holidays into a competition.
Instead of buying the most expensive gifts or hosting the most elaborate parties, focus on spending quality time with your children. You can also coordinate gift-giving with the other parent to keep things balanced.
Help them with traditions
Traditions can be tricky during the holidays. Often, you cannot do things the same way you did them before a divorce.
If you can observe some of the same traditions, like attending a religious service or baking cookies, do so. For the traditions you cannot observe, consider trying out new options. For example, if you used to go to your in-laws on Christmas Eve, you might go to your child’s favorite restaurant that evening instead.
Don’t ignore them
This might go without saying, but parents should spend time with the children during the holidays. Too often, parents let anger about the divorce, custody, financial stress, and work obligations take over this time of year.
To avoid this, parents should prioritize time with their children. If there’s a snowy afternoon during your parenting time, get your snow pants on and go build a snowman together. If you are distracted by work and paying the bills, set aside time after your children leave or go to bed to tend to those responsibilities. Then, do something like taking the kids to go look at holiday lights in the neighborhood.
These simple suggestions can go a long way in making this holiday season more enjoyable for everyone.