Many children look forward to Christmas as their favorite time of the year. They can’t wait to decorate the tree, or partake in all the special sights and sounds of the season and the annual visit from Santa. Part of the magic is the anticipation of opening gifts and spending time with loved ones.

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your kids have a Merry Christmas, even if you’re dealing with the stress of a divorce or separation.

Help Your Kids Have a Merry Christmas

If you are going through a separation or divorce, the holiday season is packed with extra stress and headaches. It can be challenging to focus on peace and joy to everyone if you have recently separated or you and your ex are angry with each other. The following tips can help you and your children have a Christmas they will enjoy.

1. Decide to Put Your Children First

For the sake of your children, you can choose to put their needs first. It’s not always easy to be the bigger person when the break up of your relationship is still raw or you are in the midst of fighting and going back and forth about child custody issues.

2. Focus on Christmas Week Instead of One Day

When making arrangements for your children to spend time with both families during the Holidays, things will be less stressful if you can have some flexibility.  Christmas can be a whole week, rather than just one day! You’ll want to negotiate a plan that lets your children have a good time and is workable from a scheduling and travel viewpoint.

For example, if your kids were used to dividing the holidays before the break up by spending Christmas with one side of the family and New Year’s with the other during even years, then switching venues in the odd years, continue the tradition as single parents.  Your kids will get to see all their family this way, making for a happy holiday indeed.

3. Discuss Gift-Giving in Advance

How are you going to handle Christmas gifts? You can probably agree you don’t want to overload your children with gifts.

Ask your children to write a wish list or help them write their letter to Santa. Then share the list with your ex so that the two of you can discuss which items on the list you can consider buying for Christmas. Divide these items between the two of you in whatever way makes sense for your Christmas gift-giving plans and budgets to avoid duplicate gifts.

4. Make Your Own Plans for The Holidays

During the times when you won’t be with your children during Christmas Week, make plans for something to do. They don’t have to be expensive or elaborate, just something for you to have on the horizon. If you are the parent who is the primary caregiver, take advantage of some extra time to run errands, watch a movie or have a phone conversation without interruptions. Make plans to go for coffee, enjoy a matinee movie or go to lunch with a friend – and treat yourself somewhere that doesn’t have a kids’ menu!

The Christmas season is a time to connect and reconnect with family members and friends. Don’t let the fact your children aren’t going to be with you for the entire holiday season keep you at home. Spend time with people you care about who live in the area. Take a couple of hours when your children are with their other parent and send some emails or catch up on IM with your friends and relatives who live farther away.

5. Let Your Children Know They Can Call the Other Parent During the Holidays

If you will be spending Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day with your children, be sure to set aside time so that the children can connect with the other parent. They shouldn’t have to feel as though they have to sneak off during a meal or hide in the bathroom to wish their other parent a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year.

Even though these days can be hectic with various plans, make the few minutes your children communicate with the other parent a priority. Step away and give them some privacy while they are speaking to your ex. You can pick up the phone at the end of the call to confirm pick up or drop off times, etc.
It’s the season for giving, so let Rodríguez Family Law provide some helpful advice for your predicament.  Whether you’re seeking a change to your custody terms or a simple trial separation, we can help you figure out what’s best for your family.  Give us a call at 862-241-1228 or send an email today to schedule your personal consultation.