Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for children. Once parents decide to divorce, the children then have to face the reality of their parents no longer living under the same roof. This is a difficult transition for almost all children, but it can be especially difficult at the holidays. Parents should stress to their children that it is okay to enjoy the holidays during this difficult time—at both parent’s homes.
But to help children transition to this new structure of the family, parents should consider developing new traditions that the family as a whole did not do before. This can be something very small, such as selecting a Christmas tree from a specific place, or baking holiday cookies with your children, or something bigger, such as a nice vacation.
On the same hand, though, parents should also try to maintain some consistency. If there are traditions that were part of the family before the divorce that both parents can continue in their respective homes, they should consider doing so. This gives the children some consistency and stability after the separation and divorce.
Parents should also communicate with one another and the children, so the children understand what the parenting schedule is for the holidays, so the children are reassured that they will have parenting time with both parents for the holidays. This will help children realize that although their parents are not together for the holidays, it’s okay, and they will see both parents during the holiday season.
Another important tip is for parents to listen to their children. Holidays can especially emotional, and it may be during this time that children express some frustration or sadness to be celebrating the holidays in two separate homes. Talk to your children and reassure them that this is okay, and both parents still love them.
And one of the greatest benefits of holidays at two parents’ homes for children is opening presents twice. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, children then get to open presents at both parents’ homes. Over time, children recognize as one of the greatest benefits of divorced parents.
Holidays can be difficult for children of divorce, but if parents work together to reassure children that it is okay to enjoy the holidays, and also try to develop new traditions and memories, the transition to holidays at two parents’ homes will work out for the children.