Sponsored by Harrogate Family Law
Christmas can be a daunting time for newly or separated parents, particularly when decisions have to be made about how their children’s time is divided between mum and dad.
If you’re in this situation for the first time this year, you may be concerned about having to spend some time without your children over the festive season and how you’ll feel without them to distract you.
Here are some tips from the Harrogate Family Law team to help you and your family make it through Christmas:
Make a plan
Put pen to paper and write down what you want to do, where you’ll be and who you will be with. Planning ahead will help you avoid the panic of uncertainty and if you actually plan some peaceful time for yourself, it might feel more like a treat than something to dread.
Surround yourself with family and friends
If you formulate a plan and it dawns on you that you don’t know where you’ll be or who you’ll be with, then get busy. Surround yourself with people. Cook for others or go out for a meal. Try not to mull things over for too long. It will require some effort on your part but you will feel better for it. Often it’s uncertainty that causes stress and once you know what you’re doing and who you’re spending time with everything will feel much more manageable.
Out with the old, in with the new
Everything in your life has changed, including festive traditions. It’s the perfect time to think about introducing new ways of doing things, some of which might become longstanding customs in the years ahead. Ask yourself what you can do that’s different and fun? Perhaps you can arrange to do something new with your children, go on holiday or arrange a walk or gathering with family and friends.
Don’t compete, co-operate
Divorced parents sometimes fall into the trap of trying to out-do each other by buying bigger presents, or treating children to lavish trips out over the festive period. Not only does this set a precedent that may put pressure on you in years to come, it can be unsettling for the children. If possible, negotiate a budget that you can each stick to. Reassure the children that they are still part of a loving family, even though their parents no longer live together.
If you are going to be on your own at Christmas you may want to consider volunteering. Most towns and cities run community Christmas dinners and parties for people who will be on their own and they are always looking for help. Staying active and finding a new purpose can take your mind off the fact that your Christmas is different this year.