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Happy Happy Parenting Time

HAPPY, HAPPY HOLIDAY PARENTING…….

While not all families are as happy, happy as Phil Robertson and his crew from Duck Dynasty, we can all remember that Christmas is for Children!

Many parents are separated or going through a divorce during the holiday season. For some parents, this season will be the first holiday as a "single parent". This can be a hard and trying time, but if you put your children first and focus on their happiness, their love and tenderness will put a smile on your face this year.

So what can you do to have a better holiday season with the Ex or Soon- To- Be- Ex? Here are a few tips that might help………..

  1. Communication is key. Share your schedule with "the other parent" and coordinate parenting time so that your child(ren) can get the best of both parents.
  2. Put it in writing. Use a calendar to make a schedule. Write down the exchange dates and time in advance and ensure that both parents have a copy of the calendar.
  3. Check the school calendar and make good use of days surrounding Christmas, when the children are out of school- your kids won't mind if Christmas lasts all week.
  4. Be creative with calendaring. If you don't get Christmas Eve and Christmas morning this year, plan something special with your child during your time. Go see a movie, look at Christmas lights or take them somewhere special. You can be sure the kids will remember the good times-no matter what calendar day they occur on.
  5. Don't be a scrooge. Be open to the other parent's wants and concerns about time sharing. A smooth holiday between the two of you will make a happy holiday for your child. Plus next year the schedule will likely reverse, so you really won't lose anything.
  6. Start a new tradition. This year, start a new tradition with your child(ren), something that is special between the two of you—make a Christmas ornament, start a collection of nutcrackers, make a new food—anything that you can do together each year. Then as the years pass, you and your child(ren) will look back at the good times you had each year.
  7. Have Fun. We're often so busy teaching and guiding and disciplining our children that we forget to just let go and have fun with them. Children have playful spirits and they LOVE when their parents play with them. Rejuvenate your spirit by playing with your children this holiday.
  8. Do something for yourself. As much as it is important to be the "bigger parent" for your kids' sake, it is also important to take care of yourself. Holidays can be some of the hardest times for divorced or divorcing parents. Money is tight and now you have to share your time with your child(ren). It is ok to feel down about things. Take a few minutes for self sympathy; then plan something that YOU like to do. If you have a hobby, take the time to enjoy it. If you don't, now is a great time to get one. Doing something for yourself can be as simple as buying yourself a present or spending time with your friends. It really doesn't matter what you do, just remember you are important too and do something for yourself- you'll be glad you did!

With a little patience and good will on your part, you can make this a happy, happy Christmas for your kids. Then, you too will have a happy, happy Christmas!

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