You may have some anxiety if this is your first holiday following your separation or divorce.
You may have an ex who isn’t encouraging the kids to appreciate you this holiday or maybe you won’t be with your children; if you are struggling to make the most of this holiday (that you may be dreading) now that you aren’t married, it can only be beneficial to address how we can deal with the circumstances and emotions that may come up.
Tip #1 Be flexible
The first thing to remember is to be flexible. The children may not know the exact date of the holiday, so you can certainly celebrate the day before or after your assigned parental day. What’s important is the memories that you create with your children. If you have visitation with your children and it’s not on the exact holiday, it’s perfectly acceptable to create the holiday on whatever day that you’re with your children.
You may also want to think about starting new traditions with your children–this is a special day that is about spending quality time together. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money—it just has to be meaningful to you and the children. Take them fishing or hiking, play outside, create a fun movie night, play a board game, or do whatever you and your children enjoy doing together.
Starting a new tradition will bring you and the children joy and help create a bond.
Tip #2 Be honest and open
Be open with communication. Your children may be struggling with all the transitions and time away from parents. They also may be picking up on the fact that you might be struggling. Children are very intuitive and they feel when their parents are feeling sad. They may feel conflicted about the changes, so be understanding with your children and allow them to openly communicate with you. Allow them to tell you how they’re feeling and if they say they miss their mother, accept that, validate it, and let them know that you’re there for them. Being honest with them about your feelings is important too. It’s acceptable for you to show emotions and it’s important that you openly communicate with them and allow them to openly communicate with you.
Tip #3 Spending time apart
If you can’t see your kids, then it’s important to acknowledge the anger and sadness and other emotions you feel. In an ideal world, visitation wouldn’t be affected by a contentious divorce and children would be with their dad during the holidays. Unfortunately, it does happen where visitation doesn’t occur on this holiday. It can help to be flexible. Prepare mentally and find something positive to do that day. If possible, communicate with your children prior to that day and set up a time to talk to them on the phone or Skype with them. Make that time a special event. Use this time to discuss something fun and special. Tell a story, share your favorite memories, tell jokes, or even put on a silly puppet show. Play a game that you enjoy doing with your children. Today’s technology allows you to do so much more with your children so you can make this a special time. If you can’t speak with your children, write a letter to your children or draw a picture for them.