The triple threat of family gatherings, kids off from school, and divorce is challenging at the best of times. Now throw in the spiking Coronavirus infection rates into the mix, and we have a perfect storm for the last two weeks of December. If divorced parents have not been challenged enough by having to home-school their children, while trying to work from home, and navigate the safety concerns of their children going back-and-forth between two homes, the upcoming holidays will take it to the next level. Divorced parents, especially, will need to figure out how to manage divorce and holidays during covid.
We now know that not all divorced parents share the same values with respect to the health and safety of their children. Just in the last 9 months, we have seen hundreds of court cases with parents debating topics such as suspending shared custody during COVID, home-schooling versus in-class learning and exposure to grandparents and other family members. The courtroom debate over vaccinations is just around the corner.
For most families, December holidays is an opportunity to relax, catch up with family and friends and even enjoy travelling. Most divorced spouses have survived the holidays by relying upon their own circle of family and friends to maintain a continued sense of family for their children. But the pandemic has taken that away too. This year there will be no large family gatherings, no shared meals and no traveling.
So what to do?
Here are 3 tips on how to survive the triple threat of divorce, COVID and Christmas.
1. Take time for yourself. Your state of mind is critical not just for your happiness but for your kids’ happiness too. Get enough sleep, eat regularly, and get exercise. Practice daily meditation to help stay grounded and find equilibrium. By working on your own inner state of mind, you can find peace and solace and your kids will feel it too.
2. Let go of the rigidity of holiday traditions. Don’t expect everything to be ‘right’ this holiday season. Your co-parent may frustrate you. Your holiday plans may be thwarted. You might not be able to spend as much time with your family as you’re used to. Though this holiday season is bound to cause some stress, plan on being proactive about creating a peaceful experience. Lower your expectations. By accepting that things will be different this year, you will find a sense of internal peace.
3. It’s easy to lose sight of healthy habits during the holiday season. Parents (especially divorced parents) are tempted to overindulge their kids during the holidays. Do what you can to help your children maintain their health. Make sure they get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods, reduce their screen time and get outside. Play board games together, build a snowman, go for a walk, and find new ways to stay happy regardless of the situation. Kids thrive when they have structure and consistency. So let them know what you have planned. Manage their expectations. Be consistent with house rules. Demonstrate your peace and control.
Parenting is challenging enough on its own. Parenting after divorce and through a global health crisis can be downright impossible. But make the best of this one by following these 3 tips in order to manage divorce and holidays during covid.
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