Divorce Answered

Divorce Answered

Christmas can stir-up a variety of emotions in people and families. There can be remorse for breaking up a family, sadness that the family aren’t together, missing old traditions and loneliness of being on your own. But … there is always hope, fun, memories, excitement and friendship. Rachael Scharrer, divorce expert and Life Change Counsellor, shares 15 ways that you can make your child feel special at Christmas:

  1. **Talk to your child’s other parent and agree to your respective time with your child.** Start the conversation soon so that everyone is working to the same parenting arrangement. When you are at an agreement, then you can make the most of your time with and without your child. Further, you limit the amount of tension that your child may be exposed to.
  2. **Plan your Summer holidays and the time that you have together with your child.** Fill your calendar with fun activities, play dates and some quiet time – Kids love having something to look forward to. Your local community pages are likely to share affordable and fun festive events.
  3. **Decorate the Christmas tree together.** Decorating the Christmas tree can be fun. You might be keen on having a theme or, if you into crafts, you and your child might like to make decorations for the home and tree.
  4. **Make a memory book.** Create a photo album or photobook with your child with images from the last year. It’s always fun to review the previous year and reminisce over the fun times you have had.
  5. **Create your own new and special Christmas and Summer Holiday traditions.** Whether you have your child on Christmas eve, Christmas day, boxing day or for the new year, create your own traditions. That is, create something that is unique to you and your child. It could be from your heritage or newly created traditions, going to local carols together, heading to the beach, visiting the zoo, creating a Christmas box… your options are endless!
  6. **Don’t put your child in the middle.** Keep your child out of any disagreements and don’t put them in the position of having to make any tough decisions like choosing between their parents.
  7. **Teach your children to be appreciative for what they have.** There are always people with less than you and there are always ways to give back – for instance, help out with some charities, give a meal to a homeless person, make a lonely older neighbour feel special, donate one months pocket money for a worthy cause.
  8. **Encourage your children to give to charity before they receive new presents.** Donating old presents/clothes to charities or the less fortunate can make someone else’s Christmas more special than before (as well as create much needed space in your child’s bedroom).
  9. **Speak positively and encouragingly about the other parent and your child’s time with their other parent.** Your child is half you and half their other parent. It is important that your child doesn’t feel guilty about the time they are spending with their other parent.
  10. **Keep yourself occupied during your child-free time.** Give to yourself and if you are prone to feeling low, make plans or start a project. You don’t want your children worrying that you will be lonely when they aren’t with you
  11. **Get an updated photo of you and your child.** Too often, single parents have photos of their children and no images of themselves with their child. Christmas is a good excuse to intentionally take the time to get a photo, make a memory and mark the occasion.
  12. **Decide where Santa will be visiting.** Will Santa arrive at your home, their other parents’ home or at both? This decision should be talked about with the other parent (to avoid your child being disappointed) and perhaps your child can write Santa a letter letting him know where to leave the gifts.
  13. **Share time with another single-parent family.** When you spend time with another single-parent family, you are normalising the experience and your family structure for your child. Families come in all different shapes, configurations and sizes and singleparent families aren’t any different.
  14. **Go somewhere new.** Travel and visit a new location – When you drive an hour or two away from home, you may be able to explore a new town, a new park, beach. If you are on a strict budget, low income earners or concession holders may be able to entitled to free or reduced-fare train tickets.
  15. **House swap.** Staying somewhere new, by simply swapping homes with another family, feels like a holiday. It’s a low-cost, affordable way to experience a new area (just like in the movie, The Holiday) and get away from your usual location and routine.

Christmas and your summer holidays are a time for you to recharge, make memories and enjoy! Whether you are on your own, with your child, with extended family or friends, there is lots for you to enjoy in your local community and surrounding areas. You are only limited to your imagination, the effort that you put into researching options available to you and the attitude that you choose to have.

Wishing you and your family a memorable Christmas and Summer Holiday.


You may also like to read:

Helping your child through their divorce experience

Good things you don’t expect after divorce