The holiday season is almost here. And for parents who are divorcing or who are newly divorced, the prospect can be terrifying.
Many parents in this position wonder how they can possibly spend part of all of a holiday away from their children. For most, it is a painful idea.
But for the kids, the holidays don’t have to be painful and sad. With some planning and some dedication on the parts of both parents, the holidays can still be an opportunity for kids to create happy and fun memories while surrounded by family and love.
Use a mediator to collaborate on a child-focused holiday plan
Whether you are just beginning the divorce process, or have been divorced for many years, it is never too late to work with a mediator on a better holiday plan.
A child-focused holiday plan maximizes the child’s meaningful time with family and sets the stage for new traditions. In addition, child-focused holiday planning puts special focus on creating calm and healthy transitions.
Get ready to provide a positive outlook
Your children may be especially anxious about the first holiday after the divorce, and they will take their emotional cues from you. Listen with empathy, let them know that their feelings are valid, and reassure them that the holidays will still be special.
Involving children with planning new traditions or activities may help them regain a sense of control and excitement about the holidays.
Make a plan for yourself
Make a plan for the transitions and time away from your children. You may want to ask a friend or family member for help. Individual moments can be easier or harder than you expect – the best policy is to be prepared. Planning in advance will help ease your anxiety and day-of emotions, creating a better experience for your kids.
Once the holidays are over, consider communicating with your co-parent about how it went. If both of you are united in the goal to create a happy holiday for your child, then you may be able to email or talk about how the holiday went for your child and what can be done next time to make it better.
Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Irvine divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation and mediation of other family law matters.