Christmas can be a tricky time with a great need for negotiation and compromise when a family has been divided by divorce. Here are some ideas on how to arrange contact with your children over Christmas:
Try to discuss the Christmas and New Year period well in advance, and suggest possibilities that may be fair and allow everyone to spend some quality time with the children. You want to be as stress free around the actual festivities as possible.
Try to put the feelings and needs of your children first in all discussions with your ex-partner, and try where possible to amicably reach an agreement on an arrangement that will work for all parties and could be replicated each year in some form.
If longer distances of travel are involved, you have to consider whether it will be too long or stressful to fit into the overall Christmas celebrations for your children. They should not be made to cancel important events in their lives such as Christmas plays or special celebrations in order to see a parent as this may cause negativity.
Twice as Nice
It is often easiest for children to celebrate Christmas twice, once with each set of parents and their families, for example Christmas Day with one parent, Boxing Day with the other, or one Christmas with one parent one year and with the other the following year.
Consider the Grandparents
Always consider the extended family who will want to see the children just as much, and try to arrange ways in which they can make Christmas feel special for them aswell. It is imperative that they get the opportunity to maintain their relationships with the children and create their own festive traditions.
When You Can’t Agree
If you are struggling to reach an agreement with your former spouse or partner, despite your best efforts, you may wish to speak to professionals who can help to negotiate a fair agreement on your behalf. Mediation is often suitable in such matters, where trained mediators can help you discuss the situation in a calm manner and put forward each person’s thoughts on how arrangements should be made. It usually concludes with a workable solution for all involved, with far less stress, argument and upset involved.
Remember, it is far more important that the time that you do spend with your children is special and full of happy memories, no matter when you celebrate Christmas.