Christmas is all about families coming together to enjoy the festive celebrations, but if you're recently separated and have children, the festive period will likely be a tough time for you.
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If you and your partner are now co-parenting, working out who has the children when over Christmas can be hard to navigate, along with the emotions that come with missing your children when on your own.
Kate Daly, co-founder of couple-led divorce service Amicable, told HELLO!: "Creating a healthy and productive co-parenting relationship after divorce is crucial all year round, but especially at Christmas time.
"It’s not always easy, but the following tips should help you get through your first Christmas co-parenting."
How to get through your first Christmas post-separation with children:
Tech is here to help
Katy says: "Technology is your best friend when it comes to co-parenting, especially at Christmas time. Messaging apps and shared calendars can help to make co-parenting around the festive season a little easier.
"Amicable recently launched a co-parenting app that includes a chat function, a shared calendar and gives parents access to an online coach, who can help parents talk through difficult conversations. In tandem with open communication, technology allows both parents to seamlessly navigate the world of co-parenting."
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Compromising around Christmas is key
"It’s important to understand that your previous Christmas traditions will change as you enter a co-parenting relationship with your ex. To ensure the Christmas period is as peaceful as possible, the way you communicate with each other must evolve. Pick and choose your battles and avoid making demands of the other parent regarding their plans for Christmas. Instead, calmly communicate your preferences and offer constructive resolutions."
Talk to your children
"Communicating in an age-appropriate way with your kids is vital. Children may have ideas or suggestions that will help you and your ex-partner come to a perfect Christmas co-parenting arrangement.
"It's also important to empathise with your children who are now having to split their Christmas between two separate households. This could be even more stressful during the pandemic, so you must show them that you are listening and that you care."
Enjoy your first Christmas alone
"If you end up spending Christmas alone without your kids for the first time, it’s important to stay positive as your children might start to feel guilty about not spending all their time with you. Try to focus on the positives of having alone time, such as getting a couple of days to yourself, indulging in self-care routines, and being able to host your friends for Christmas instead."
Spend time with your friends and family
"There may be a temptation to deal with this big life adjustment alone for fear of being a burden but remember it's ok to ask for help. Friends and family can act as a sounding board or provide you with some much-needed company – remember Christmas is a time to be around all your loved ones, which isn’t just limited to a spouse, partner, or children."