The holidays can cause so much strife for divorced parents who are sharing time with their children. In our previous blog, we offered five tips to help parents and their families ease that tension. Here are five additional thoughts on how to not only survive the holiday season with children in two households, but also enhance the experience for everyone involved.
Children’s Memories Include All Senses — What They Saw, Heard, Smelled, Tasted & Touched
To the extent possible, create memories that involve each of these senses and describe it, e.g. we always listen to this music, eat cranberry sauce, watch this movie, read this book, take this walk, and cut these branches. Recall your own positive memories from your childhood if you can and try to pass them along to your children.
Self-Care Is Very Important At All Times But Critical During The Holidays
Your life has significantly changed. Find new ways to care for yourself, e.g. exercise, friends, books, movies, clubs, martial arts, dance, classes, and activities that bring new energy and attention. You want to rejuvenate yourself and refocus on something to help you reconstitute yourself in your new life.
Keep Your Expectations Low So That They Can Be Exceeded
Focus on one thing that matters most to you during the holidays, e.g. some sense of connection to your family, having some time with extended family or close friends, creating a new tradition, continuing a tradition. Your holiday time will not be the same, but you can decide that you will have one small goal that you will work toward creating or preserving. Focus on the positives, not the negatives, if you can.
Keep Your Focus On Your Children
Make the holidays about your children, which means helping them to feel good about spending holiday time with the other parent.
Take The Long View Of Creating Memories
From that long view you can highlight the tone and experience of these transformed holidays. Children who find holidays stressful because of the conflict between their parents have terrible memories as adults of holidays and of special family moments. Create fond, pleasant memories for your children, traditional or otherwise. The message is that you and our family are important and we find ways to celebrate and enjoy the holidays.