Navigating the holiday season after family separation or divorce can be challenging in terms of both stress and logistics. Pennsylvania parents who are dealing with a changed family dynamic for the first time or who are simply committed to doing better can take solace in the knowledge that countless families have been down the same path. Having a successful holiday season requires focus and commitment from parents, but with teamwork, it is a very achievable goal.

One of the first items to check off the list is making a detailed plan for the season. Parents will need to communicate and be flexible in order to make things work. Understanding that a stable relationship with both parents is essential for optimal child development is key. There may be conflicts regarding some dates, but individuals should remember that it is a marathon and not a sprint. Alternating holiday visits each year is common in these situations. Many parents take the opportunity to create new and fun family traditions at this point. The key, again, is remembering to be present with the children and focused on their well-being.

Parents should refrain from excessively questioning children after time spent with the other parent. Kids do not enjoy being put on the spot or being put in the middle of their divorced or separated parents. Parents should ask if they had fun and allow them to share at their own pace. Children may be just as nervous about the holidays as their parents are, so bringing them in the loop about plans is a good idea. Like everyone, they do best when they are well-informed about events in their life.

If a parent is considering divorce or wondering how to revise an existing child custody plan in general or just regarding the holidays, a good first step may be consulting with an experienced and qualified family law attorney. Understanding options and having a solid plan might provide peace of mind that lasts beyond the holiday season.