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How can divorced parents successfully navigate the holidays?

Now that we are roughly a week away from Christmas, parents across Arkansas are undoubtedly scrambling to get everything in order before school is out and the festivities officially begin.

While for many parents this means wrapping gifts, decorating the house and baking various treats, for others it also means packing suitcases, preparing guest bedrooms and finalizing both drop-off and pick-up times.

Indeed, the holidays can prove to be an emotionally taxing time for divorced parents, as they have to not only deal with traditional holiday concerns, but also adhering to custody arrangements, making sure their kids are in a good place and managing their own emotions.

In today's post, we'll take a brief look at some basic tips offered by experts to help parents navigate this always challenging time of the year.

What should newly divorced parents consider doing at this time of the year?

Experts indicate that first and foremost, newly divorced parents will want to establish the holiday schedule for their children as early as possible so that they have time to prepare and process their first time away.

In addition, experts indicate that the family members of the parent with whom the children spend the holidays should be advised in advance not to pry and let the children focus on the fun, not the divorce.

What should divorced parents who have been through the holidays before remember to keep in mind?

Experts remind divorced parents to always stay positive regardless of whether they are going to spend the holidays with or without their children. This means not just refraining from saying negative things about a former spouse, but actively taking steps to make their experience more enjoyable.

For example, this might mean allowing the children to call the other parent if they are missing them at bedtime or helping build excitement about holiday plans even if the children will be traveling elsewhere.

What about divorced parents who will find themselves alone?

Whether being without children on the holidays is a new experience or an annual occurrence, experts advise divorced parents to always be mindful of their feelings, understanding that it's perfectly normal to feel lonely or even a bit sad.

To help make things smoother, experts indicate that divorced parents should make an effort to avoid being alone over the holidays and/or treat themselves to a fun experience.

Are you a divorced parent? If so, what have your experiences over the holidays been like?

If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce or divorce-related matters -- child custody, child support, etc. -- please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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