Children often find the period right after a divorce challenging. This especially applies to their first holidays without both parents in the same house.
Whether it is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July or any other holiday, these special days simply hold too many memories and traditions from before the upheaval of their worlds. However, with careful planning, consideration and certain elements, parents can ensure that the holidays remain a joyful time for their kids.
Open and effective communication is key when it comes to holiday planning after a divorce. Parents should start by discussing the holiday schedule with their ex-spouses well in advance. They need to determine who will have the children on specific holidays and for how long. Having a clear plan in place reduces confusion and stress.
During the holidays, the children’s needs and wishes are the priority. Parents need to put aside their own feelings and conflicts and focus on easing the transition for them. This includes possibly including them in the decision-making process. Depending on the children’s ages, maturity and preferences, trying to maintain some old traditions while creating new ones may help them adjust to the new circumstances. The old ones offer a sense of familiarity and security while the new ones show that life goes on and still contains opportunities for joy.
Flexibility is crucial when dealing with holiday arrangements post-divorce. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances arise, and plans may need to change. Being adaptable and willing to work with an ex-spouse can make the holidays less stressful for everyone involved.
Help your children manage their expectations for the holidays. Be honest with them about what to expect, and avoid making unrealistic promises that might lead to disappointment. Encourage them to focus on the joy of the holidays rather than the changes and losses.
According to Deseret News, children experience some measure of trauma as a result of divorce. The holidays hold special meaning for children and can cause them great pain in the initial aftermath of a divorce. However, they are also an opportunity for healing and moving on, for seeing that the future can still be bright even if their parents are no longer together. By prioritizing children’s needs, honoring both old and new traditions and maintaining peaceful and effective communication, parents can help the holidays remain a time of beauty and hope for their children.