The holidays are upon us. If you had any doubt, just enter a grocery store. Although we seem to have skipped Thanksgiving and have already been overtaken by Christmas, both holidays must be considered when making plans with your kids after a divorce. As parents, the need to co parent through holidays focused on tradition and family is vital to giving your child(ren) a wonderful memory of childhood during Thanksgiving and winter break.
Children should be the focus of these events. Discuss with your former spouse which traditions you are keeping. Work together to support one another in bridging the old ideas of home and family with the new ones. Maybe both of you keep a family tradition, but make it unique to your home and your vibe as a family unit. Emphasize that you are still a family--just two versions. Share a beloved recipe. Watch a family movie. Do something that feels familiar for the season and your family.
Family also extends to grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Acknowledge the other family members. Try to give the children time with both sides of the family--even if it means sacrificing some of your precious time with them during visitation. Holidays are full of concerts, dance recitals, religious celebrations, midterms and final grades. Work together to make sure your children have fun and thrive during this special time. Share expenses in order for them to do extra things and give friends gifts. Coordinate schedules so that they can go to a holiday movie or see their ballet buddies in "The Nutcracker".
The most important part of co parenting during the holidays is to make sure that children feel loved. If they feel loved, they will feel secure. If they feel loved, the difference in the family dynamic won’t be quite as painful. Most kids won’t mind sharing two Thanksgiving meals and watching television or playing video games with family. Even if you are unable to celebrate on the day set by the calendar, the atmosphere of the home and the memories you make are what they remember and cherish; a hot cocoa bar and movies the day after Thanksgiving will still make a good memory and keep the feeling of love, family, and holiday cheer. Taking pictures and getting a tree from a Christmas tree farm could be your new tradition instead of the turkey dinner. Getting a cabin and opening gifts before or after Christmas might be your new tradition. Co parenting through the holidays can be just as hard on both former spouses, but the delight comes in knowing the children are experiencing all the joy of the season.
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