Practical tips on how to cope when your Ex has your children for Christmas
Divorce and Separation can been no Family Christmas as your children may be with your ex. So here are some survival tips if your ex is going to have your children this Christmas:
- You need to set expectations for the Children as early as possible. Decide as soon as possible with your ex-partner who will have the children for Christmas and where they will be. This will give you time to prepare yourself for this and make alternative arrangements for Christmas. It will also give the children sense of security if they know well in advance what the plan is for Christmas.
- Create alternate plans to celebrate Christmas. Think about the things you used to enjoy at Christmas time. Perhaps it is spending Christmas with your Mum and Dad, a brother or sister and their family or even just going somewhere on holiday. You may even decide that you just need some alone time to laze about the house and get some rest. You are free to choose the type of Christmas you have, and it is important to focus on this and not on losing the children for Christmas.
- Keep the feelings of you children forefront in your mind. You may be feeling sad, even desperate to be spending Christmas without them. This will be especially true if it is the first time. However, you must not let them see this and you must hide your feelings for their own good. Remember, children have a finite number of Christmases as children, and you wouldn’t want to rob them of the enjoyment of one.
- Speak positively of the day, as if you too are looking forward to the fun they are going to have with the other family. Say nice things about your ex’s family and how much they are looking forward to spending Christmas with your children. You don’t want them worrying about you at Christmas, they should be able to just enjoy the day.
- Pick an alternative Christmas day, after the children return, when you will open your presents and have a second Christmas day. Once again put a positive spin on it and remark how lucky they are to have two Christmases this year. You will be creating new traditions and fun for both yourself and the kids. The children are sure to love it.
- Try to setup regular communication with your children over Christmas. This could take the form of a phone call or facetime once or twice a day or even every other day. Just listen to there news, as they detail their experiences of the day to you. If they are upset, lend a sympathetic ear, but try to steer them towards happier, more positive frame of minds. Be aware that too many calls may make it harder for them and you to relax. Also, think about next year, when your ex will be calling them – would you want him calling as often as you plan to call?
- When planning you alternative Christmas, you should concentrate on your children’s developmental needs. Try new experiences and giving them lots of love and and a lot of affection. Give them praise and heaps of recognition for helping you plan the event and responsibility for making it run smoothly. You may want to consider inviting your parent and even / or a sibling to give the day a true “Christmas” feel.
- Rewarding as it is to be a parent, it can also be exhausting. Especially if you have them for majority of the time. Take this opportunity to have some me time. Read a book, do something you have always wanted to do but never had the time. You don’t need to feel guilty for putting yourself first for once. You earned it and you deserve it.
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