Children often struggle to adjust to shared custody arrangements after their parents’ divorce. It can be hard to live life between two households, especially when it affects the things that someone enjoys in life.
A divorce will certainly change the way that a family approaches the holidays. Whether the parents split the day and each spends some of the holiday with the children or they alternate holidays, the children will probably be very conscious of who is missing on the holidays or how the traditions they enjoy have changed.
Thankfully, there are certain ways for parents to keep the holidays joyful even during a divorce.
Focusing on preserving the best traditions and making some new ones
Children often make it quite clear over the years what they enjoy the most about different holiday celebrations. Does everyone look forward to seeing their aunts and uncles for a white elephant gift exchange? Are there certain foods or pastimes that everyone looks forward to all year?
A divorce is an opportunity for a family to reinforce those most popular traditions. They can also trim out other traditions that their children have outgrown or that they don’t engage with as much anymore. Some parents even create new ways to celebrate that are unique to their household after the divorce.
Being supportive and positive about everyone’s celebrations
If one parent really goes all out with gifts or decorating, that can be pleasant for the children. However, such efforts should be intended to bring joy, not to disparage the other parent.
What parents say will influence how their children perceive their holiday celebrations, so a positive attitude can go a long way. Parents openly communicating about gifts and schedules can also help make things go smoothly during both family celebrations.
Although having and sticking to a schedule for shared custody is important, bending the rules can be beneficial occasionally.
Helping the children pick out a holiday present for their other parent and inviting them in briefly so that they can open it in front of everyone could be a way to share goodwill and rebuild a positive co-parenting relationship. Encouraging the children to include the other parent in all of their holiday excitement can also help make the season a little brighter for the children.
Keeping the kids as the focus of the holidays after a divorce can make a shared custody situation easier for a family to manage.