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Holidays, Parenting & Divorce: 3 Must-Read Tips

The holidays can be overwhelming for everyone. And being a separated or divorced parent can create a whole new set of challenges. Deep breath. This does get easier, especially if you follow these tips for navigating the holidays with kids.

Tip #1: When in doubt, stick to your parenting plan.

Being flexible is great, but too much flexibility can actually add to your stress.The more you venture off your plan, the more you’ll need to think about it, and the more room there’ll be for disagreements with your ex. By sticking to your parenting plan from the get-go, you eliminate the risk of confusion. It may not be perfect, but it is reliable. And if you don't have a plan yet, check out your local court's standard holiday schedule or give the court clerk a call for guidance.

Tip #2: Remember that it comes out in the wash.

While this isn’t true with all parenting time, it should be with an alternating holiday schedule. Upset that your ex has the kids the first part of break? Fair enough, especially if they’re little. But that also means it's your turn next year. And if you don’t have a parenting order in place yet, keep track — in writing —of how you handled the dates this year, so you can make sure to set up next year accordingly.

Tip #3: Put yourself in your child’s shoes.

It's natural to feel upset about missing time with your children during the holidays or worrying about the timing of exchanges. Keep in mind that children often focus on simple things like knowing where they'll wake up on Christmas morning, or where they’ll be lighting the Kwanzaa candle or Hanukkah menorah. Kids seek consistency and a clear plan. Your emotions can influence theirs, so staying calm helps them too.


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