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Practical tips for spending Christmas Day without the children

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Being without your children on Christmas day can be an overwhelming experience.

Whilst some families can put their differences aside, others find it hard to work around the issues in the background and can’t find a way to share the time together properly.

In addition to any feelings you might be experiencing, the children are also feeling a similar pain dealing with the separation and circumstances surrounding it.

Here are some tips to try and get through it.

Set some expectations

If the decision is amicable, or where time must be determined by a Court, it is vital to understand the children’s feelings and wants and make them a priority where possible.

  • Plan as early as you can! This will ensure that there aren’t any mishaps in communication or he said/she said scenarios that can upset the time for the children
  • If time cannot be agreed on, consider mediation or a counsellor as a method to work out a plan, Courts can be involved if needed but applications take time to process and can impose a negative impact on what is trying to be achieved
  • If you know you won’t have your kids, prepare yourself as best  you can mentally & emotionally. Try surrounding yourself with people that can keep you positive
  • Prepare the children. Reassurance and positive support from both parents will help the children to feel relaxed and not worried about the absent parent

What are some other ways to celebrate Christmas without the kids?

You haven’t got the kids this year, why not re-invent your Christmas.

  • Spend time with friends or family
  • Meet up with other friends that maybe don’t have kids
  • Head somewhere you’ve never been to before and spend a Christmas with yourself
  • Do nothing at all and just enjoy ‘you’ time, knowing that you will be seeing them again soon

Forget your feelings for now and remember what the children feel…

Separated or divorced families have a lot of dynamics to deal with in terms of the family circle, and Christmas can exacerbate those emotions. Make a choice to focus on what the kids want, and try not to worry about what each parent is going through.

  • Let them confidently spend time with their grandparents, cousins, and other family members, it will help them to grow and form positive relationships
  • When discussing time away from you with the children, ensure to frame the experience as a positive. Avoid using negative phrasing where possible and just make them feel like it’s going to be a great experience
  • Always try and be positive about the people they will be surrounded by, your emotional fight isn’t with them, don’t let them feel like it is

Engage with your children

The great part of our generation is the ability to be able to stay in touch virtually. The internet gives us voice and video access to our kids when we are apart, so why not use it!

  • Call them or video call them when possible . It is recommended to schedule this with the other parent, so it doesn’t disrupt their plans and so the children have dedicated time to spend with you on the phone
  • Try and figure out where their feelings are and make them the focus of the conversation – keep it happy and positive where you can
  • Listen to them. Acknowledge them if they aren’t having fun or are upset and try and turn it around for them
  • Respect your ex. You’re both parents to the children, the time you have with them is just as important as the time they have with your ex-partner

Get back to ‘you’

Regardless of wherever your life is at with your separation, and whatever time you do or don’t spend with your kids. By keeping  yourself positive you will be able to support your children in a more positive way.

If you don’t see the kids this Christmas maybe you could:

  • Pick up that book or binge the series you always wanted to
  • Go camping or fishing (or anything really!)
  • Take a course and study something you are interested in
  • Meet up with friends and socialise
  • Crack that 10,000-piece puzzle out and tear your hair out!

The time, whilst not the best without your kids will pass and you will see them again. Just try and make as many positive choices as possible during this time and hopefully it will fly by and they will be with you again.

We are here to help

If you find yourself reading this and you simply don’t think you are getting enough time with your children, or would like to discuss legal arrangements about the children, please click here to book time with Jan and the team to work it all out for you.