But Thanksgiving Doesn�t Fall on Tuesday???
1. Communicate. Communication is key to everything, and the holidays are no exception. Talk to your kids and ex-spouse. Maybe the every other year thing is too confusing. Maybe your kids are feeling left out. They might even feel guilty that Mom or Dad is alone. See if you can work on a schedule that works better. Some families opt to split the holidays by time, so that a child is with one parent until 2:00 and the other for the remainder of the day. Some opt to split the holidays so that the kids know that every Thanksgiving they will be with Mom and her family for the entire day, but that every Easter or some other holiday they spend it with Dad and his family. That allows traditions to build and nobody has to stop right in the middle of the fun.
2. Put your differences aside. Maybe for a day, an hour, but do whatever you can. If you can manage to go to a pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins great. If you can only handle opening gifts all together, so be it. If it means sharing a piece of holiday pie and some eggnog, great! Any amount of time you can spend all together will be the biggest gift you can possibly give to your kids. Remember you are doing it for them.
3. Plan Ahead. Don�t be agreeing to the schedule the night before. Inevitably there will be a child eating back to back turkey if there is no plan.
4. Be flexible and reasonable, and keep your word. If you plan to have your child home at 2:00 and it�s 2:15, don�t make a big fuss to your ex-spouse. Things have a way of taking a little longer than expected during the holidays. But don�t purposely ignore the agreed upon schedule. That only sets your child up to be caught in the middle of your frustrations.
5. Agree on gift giving methods. Will you each be buying gifts separately or together? Will you coordinate so you don�t both give the same thing? Who will take the children shopping to purchase gifts for each of their parents? How will they be paid for? It is perfectly acceptable to teach your children the art of giving, even if it means you are buying a robe for your ex-wife.
6. Establish new traditions. You can incorporate old ones if you wish, but it might be time to start some new ones. Maybe every holiday morning you will serve homemade cinnamon rolls. Maybe birthdays will now always be celebrated by waking up with balloons. It is good to incorporate new so that whatever might be missing from the old might not be as missed.
7. Let the love shine. Allow your child to communicate with the missing parent. Maybe it will be a quick telephone call, maybe it will be a quick pick up to walk around the block. In any case, your child is possibly celebrating a holiday without one of the most important people in their life. It�s okay for them to want to share part of it with them.
� DK Simoneau
DK Simoneau is a real-life divorced mother of two. She is now a devoted authority on living �split-family� more effectively. The noticeable changes in her own children on transition days motivated her to create a tool to help facilitate conversation between children and on-looking adults. Originally an accountant by profession, her children's love for books has inspired her to write stories that teach and validate as well as stimulate an everlasting curiosity in reading. She lives in Lakewood, Colorado �sometimes� with her two children. For more information visit We're Having a Tuesday.