Sharing holidays with your kids after a divorce

November 3, 2015

Holidays are a time for happiness and family, so how can divorced parents help their children experience the joy of these special occasions? Here are some ideas for sharing the holidays with your kids after a divorce.

Sharing holidays with your kids after a divorce

Sharing the holidays

First, it's important to decide in advance how the holidays are to be split between parents. There are typically three options: to alternate, to divide or to share.

  • If you decide to alternate holidays, you simply take turns having custody of the children as each holiday arrives.
  • Splitting the holidays assigns certain holidays to each parent every year. Mom might have custody on Mother's Day and dad on Father's Day, for example. Religious days that are only observed by one parent are usually given to that parent, as well.
  • Lastly, sharing means dividing a holiday. For example, the kids will spend Christmas Eve with one parent, then Christmas Day with the other.

No matter which method you choose, communication is crucial in assuring a good holiday for everyone. This can be difficult for divorced parents, but you can simplify the matter by using email or texts to coordinate plans.

Sharing gift-giving responsibilities

Gift giving requires communication between parents. This ensures that neither parent outdoes the other by buying bigger and better gifts, and it also prevents duplicate gifts from being given. Being on equal terms when it comes to presents can save divorced parents a lot of grief in the long run.

Creating a healthy, happy atmosphere

While communication between parents can help prevent problems, communication with yourself is sometimes necessary to fill the holidays with positive energy. For instance, rather than focusing on the time not spent with the kids, focus on the time you do get to spend together.

Put the children first at all times during the holidays and keep the emphasis on creating an atmosphere that is healthy and happy. Never make the holidays into a competition between parents or place the children in the middle of an argument.

When there are holiday sharing problems

Sometimes, a person leaves a relationship and adopts a mindset that makes problems hard to work out one-on-one. Don't let these battles sabotage your holidays. Instead of fighting before every celebration, go to court and have these issues settled in a legal document. Then, instead of having to deal with uncertain guidelines every year, divorced parents can just follow whatever legal agreements are in place.

The holidays should be a time to enjoy your family, even if you don't see them every day of the year. Make the most of these special opportunities you have with your children. Sooner than later they will be grown and one day they may be busy spending holidays with children of their own. When this day comes, you want them to have happy holiday memories to take with them.

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