As the holidays near, hopefully you’ve made plans and communicated those plans clearly. If not, I offer guidance for how to prepare for the holidays in another post, “Eight Steps You Can Take Now to Avoid Tears this Holiday Season.” In this post I offer some ideas you can use when the day arrives.
- Release kids from the pressure they might feel about spending holiday time with the other primary parent. If you need something specific, you can say, “I’m so glad you get to have some time with your dad and stepmom/stepdad this holiday. I hope you have a great time!”
- Avoid fights and misunderstandings. After my parents divorced, when I was a pre-teen, arguments and bitterness would ruin the day for me. Do what you can to make sure everyone is clear about the plan for the day and put aside disagreements for the sake of the kids.
- Keep in mind that no matter what you do, holidays can heighten emotions in everyone, especially in kids. They might be grieving the death of a parent or the loss of having their primary parents together. They might grieve the loss of favorite traditions and struggle to adjust to new family members. Give them space to have all the feelings, no matter how hard it might be for you to hear about them. Let them know you love them no matter what.
- Do something for yourself! If you think the day might be challenging for you, ask your partner to check in with you or offer you a hug when it would be appropriate. Can you sneak away for 10 minutes at a time to have a few minutes for yourself? Can you treat yourself to something special the next day? Holidays can take a lot out of us, so be sure to show yourself some compassion and re-charge your batteries.
- A regular gratitude practice can lead to greater life satisfaction. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or Indigenous People’s Day, something else or nothing else, I hope you’ll take some time to think about what it is you’re grateful for this week and every week.
Remember, this is an ongoing learning process for everyone. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t go perfectly. Learn from the experience and create something even better the next time. I wish you and your family the best this holiday season!