Whilst Christmas is a jolly time for most, it can be a difficult time for others. Perhaps a family. Separated families for example have to make the decision on where their children go for the holidays. Whether the separation was amicable or not, this is not an easy decision for any family.
Bear in mind the financial constraints
One of the main concerns for parents over the holiday season is, of course, money. Children have time off school around this time of year that might not align with parents’ working schedules. Owing to this, planning and preparation is key and should be discussed in order to make it fair between both parents.
Annual leave can be used at this time to avoid forking out for expensive childcare fees with the added benefit of not losing any income in the process. In addition, requesting the help of family or friends if a parent isn’t available should be encouraged. It is the season of rallying around and helping others, after all.
The holidays are an expensive time without considering the prospect of childcare and time off of work, so don’t panic and use the resources and people around you to make this work.
The division of a child’s time can also be a tricky consideration. Understandably, most parents will want to spend as much time as possible with their children over the Christmas period. The ideal situation would be to spend half the time with one parent and the other half with the other parent. In terms of festive days such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it can be nice to alternate them.. Not only is this the fairest split but it allows the child to see both sides of the family across the festive period.
There is also a level of decision-making that can be bestowed upon the child. Where do they want to go this year? It’s up to you to judge whether this would make them feel pressured or happy. Generally older children cope better with such judgements. Whatever their preference, respect it. It’s not the role of a parent to make a child feel guilty after giving them decision-making responsibility.
Take parents’ feelings into account
Christmas can be a wonderful time for families and many parents struggle with the concept of not seeing their children on this special day. If this is the case, think about what can be done. Can you spend the day together with the whole family without conflict or disruptions to the children? If not, then you may just have to accept taking it in turns having the children.
It may be tough to take but a fair schedule will not only give the children a clear and concise routine, which is really important, but it gives you a year in which to make alternative plans and keep yourself busy with family, friends or yourself on your years off.
Take children’s’ feelings into account
During this time of year, it is crucial not to engage in conflict over holiday schedules in front of the children. Arguing openly in front of them will only lead to trauma, anger or upset, all of which you want to avoid if you want your children to enjoy their festive period.
It’s a tricky situation for sure, but just ensure that the child and their feelings are put first, that way everybody can enjoy their time off. If all else fails, Christmas doesn’t necessarily have to be on the 25th. Why not have two Christmas days? Not only will the children likely be ecstatic about this but you then both parents and families will get their fair Christmas experience with the children.