After a divorce, the handling of birthdays and holidays can often lead to conflict if a solid plan is not in place. It can be a difficult time, especially right after a divorce. However, there are some things you can do to ensure that the children have a happy, comfortable celebration:
Create A Holiday And Birthday Agreement
One of the first things you both need to do once the divorce is final is to put an agreement in place with regard to holidays and birthdays. This agreement will state how these plans will be carried out unless or until changes need to be made. It should include which parent has the kids on what holidays, whether or not you will alternate holidays, and how the parents will deal with birthday parties. The agreement should also detail how things will be handled should a change in the scheduled plans be necessary.
Try To Remain Amicable During Big Events
If at all possible, try to come together as amicably as possible during the major events. You may want to attempt to both be at the children's birthday parties if they are held at a neutral location. You do not have to socialize together, but it is good for the children to have both of their parents present. You may also want to try to work out some ways to celebrate school events or parties together without feeling any hostility against one another. At this point, your only job is to co-parent together. You do not have to be friends, but you should aim to be courteous for the sake of the kids, especially during the important times in their lives.
Begin Some New Traditions
Like many families, you likely had a number of family traditions that you enjoyed before the divorce. These traditions will no longer be like they were, and that can be a sore spot for the kids. Instead of focusing on the past traditions, try to come up with some new things you can do together and make new traditions. You can use the basis of the old traditions to make new ones, but add something extra to make it your own. Decorating the Christmas tree is a great tradition that you may have had before your divorce. While you can still decorate, add something extra to the event, such as baking cookies, giving the kids a small gift to open, or going for a ride to look at lights. Think of some things that you believe the kids will enjoy and begin doing them every year.
Holidays and big life events are very special to children, so it is important to keep them as normal as possible. Be sure to effectively communicate with your former spouse to ensure the children are happy and satisfied with your arrangements. Divorce mediation can help.