Divorced Parents: 7 Tips to Make the Holidays Smoother for Your Children

1. Get Your Priorities Straight

First things first, many divorced parents do well at putting their kids first. Be that kind of co-parent this holiday season.

Remember, it’s not really about you, your current relationship with your co-parent, or what happened in your marriage. It’s about creating a positive holiday experience for your children.

So, at the top of your holiday to-do list, cross out, “Give ex-partner the stink eye,” and put, “Be cool for the kids’ sake.”

2. Plan Way Ahead

Perhaps burying your head in the sand like an ostrich is how you like to approach the holidays. Well, it’s time to surface!

Rather than avoiding this season, just face it head-on. Plan ahead so you can have some sort of organization to the holiday madness.

Of course, planning for the holiday months ahead may not be your idea of fun. But do it for the kids. Once the seasonal craze rolls around and things go smoothly, you’ll be glad you did.

3. Maintain Some Flexibility

Planning for the unexpected is good advice. Better advice would be to plan for those silly things you know will pop up. In short, plan for the flu, program cancellations, and for the sky to dump 15 feet of snow on the day you need to drive 50 miles.

Whether you’re lucky or void of even a micro-atom of luck altogether, these things tend to disrupt perfectly choreographed holiday plans. So, keep your cool and remember that life happens.

4. Work Together

The holidays are the right time to put aside any harsh feelings about your marriage experience and coordinate with your ex-partner.

You can even go as far as coordinating gifts and events. Share your gifting guidelines with your former in-laws and your own extended family. But avoid trying to “out-do” one another when it comes to gift giving.

5. Practice Effective Communication

Sometimes, divorced parents don’t enjoy talking with one another. For you, old wounds may surface or annoying quirks could very well drive you bonkers. Yet, now is the time to make communication a priority.

Essentially, try to get on the same page as your ex-partner. If this means using someone to play the role of mediator, go for it!

6. Give Your Ex-Partner the Heads Up

Along with coordinating holidays, children of divorced parents also deal with “newbies.” As you may expect, your ex-partner is likely going to have another romantic partner at some point. And you may as well.

This person is probably going to be invited to special holiday events. Not only should you keep the kids informed, you should keep your ex-partner in the loop as well. This will help you both prepare the kids for meeting and accepting the new love interest.

7. Don’t Forget About You

Yes, the holiday season is focused on your children. However, without a strong and healthy captain at the helm, this holiday ship is going to sail into Grinch-infested waters very quickly.

So, make sure you get enough sleep at night. Keep up with your good eating habits and stay steady with your exercise regime. Basically, don’t skimp on the self-care. After all, you want to be your best self during this season.

Co-parenting can be especially difficult and challenging for divorced parents during the holidays. If you’d like support in your co-parenting endeavors, please contact me today. Or visit my Family and Parenting page to learn more about how our work together can benefit your family.