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Christmas time can be tough for separated or divorced parents. Though, in a perfect world, both parents would spend time with their kids, sometimes that is not always possible. Therefore, it is important to plan and put steps in place to ensure that Christmas goes as smoothly as possible for the sake of your children. With the few steps below, you and your children can enjoy the Christmas period.

Set expectations early – yours and your children's

Make arrangements early and communicate the plan to your children in an encouraging and supportive way. Even though you may be dreading the holiday period without them, it is important that they feel as though you will be OK if they spend Christmas with their other parent.

Create an alternative Christmas for you

Look at this time as an opportunity to develop relationships with your own parents or friends further. Take a trip away, wake up at a sensible hour on Christmas morning. You can choose what type of Christmas you want and, importantly, you can focus on having a relaxing and even fun time. Perhaps see it as an opportunity to do your good deed for the week volunteer on Christmas Day at a homeless shelter, for example.

Have a second Christmas with the kids

What child doesn't like Christmas? Therefore, what child wouldn't enjoy a second Christmas Day with you and the prospect of a second lot of presents? It's a no brainer.

Shift your perspective to what's going on for your children

Christmas is a huge deal for children. See it from their perspective, as an exciting time full of laughter and happiness. This will help you to be positive and to focus on them rather than on your sadness. It's not a bad thing to have a bit of a cry because it can often make us feel better. In fact, scientifically, having a big sob is good for us! But, just don't do it in front of the children.

Talk to your children while they're away

Make an arrangement to Skype them on Christmas morning and, if possible, to see them open a present from you. Even if you don't get along well with your ex, keep it amicable for the kids.

Above all, it's important to remember that Christmas, primarily, is for children. As long as you keep in mind the fact that if they see you happy, they will be happy, Christmas will be enjoyable. Try and make the most of your 'me time' and do something nice for yourself while the kids are with their other parent.

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