After a divorce, the holiday season can be a tricky time of year if you have kids.
The first few holidays following a divorce can be difficult when you have children. You are still trying to figure a lot of things out in your life. Now you have to navigate a time of year that can be filled with expectations. What’s the best way to approach the holidays? How should you celebrate? How will the children respond?
The good news is you don’t have to know all the answers. Your goal is simply to do your best to try to make the holidays as comfortable and fun for your children as possible. Of course, nothing will be perfect, and not everything will go according to plan. However, here are some tips that can help things go more smoothly.
1. Keep your focus on the children.
That can be easier said than done. The divorce may not have been amicable. You may be going through financial stress or other issues. But remember that the holidays are an opportunity to spend time with your kids and create new memories. So try to focus on what will make the experience fun for them.
2. Create a parenting plan and stick to it.
Work with your child’s other parent on holiday plans ahead of time. Together, decide which parent will have the kids. The plan should include the exact days and times your child will spend time with a parent. Keep in mind that the plan may need to be revised if something unexpected arises. But generally, a parenting plan can help make the holidays less stressful.
3. Let children know what to expect.
If your kids are old enough, talk to them ahead of time about where they will be spending the holidays and with whom. Talk to them about the parenting plan. Let them know how you will spend your time together and discuss any planned activities. Better yet, involve them in the planning.
4. Start some new traditions.
Children may feel a sense of loss when previous family holiday routines are changed and may miss the way things used to be. But this is an opportunity to start some new family traditions with your children. Look for different ways to celebrate together by trying a new routine or activity.
5. Remember to take care of yourself.
The holidays can be a stressful time. There is usually a lot to do, and family and work obligations can leave you exhausted. Your children are obviously a priority, but you need to take care of your physical and mental health too. Eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Take time to see a therapist or spend some time relaxing alone.
Holidays after a divorce can be challenging in many ways. Just remember to take one thing at a time!
The experienced divorce attorneys at Courtney Clark Law, P.C. in Belleville have been helping clients navigate complex legal matters in southwest Illinois for over 20 years. If you are going through a divorce, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.