Learning to navigate day-to-day life in the wake of a divorce can prove challenging for children who are adjusting to this “new normal”. However, the holiday season for children of divorce or separation, in particular, can be even more difficult and emotionally taxing. It can involve substantial adjustment, as the things you used to celebrate together look entirely different after your divorce or separation.

There are, however, a number of steps you can take during the holiday season to make the transition easier for the children. If this is your first holiday season after your split, consider taking the following steps to ease the impact your divorce or separation may have on your children.

Create a plan

First, be clear with your children that this holiday season will be different than those in the past, but reassure them that you and your former partner, if applicable, plan to do everything possible to find the joy in the season regardless. Devising a plan for where and when your children will be over the holidays can help them be better prepared for this new routine. Set holiday plans as early as possible so your children have plenty of time to adjust.

Maintain traditions when possible

While the holiday season will undoubtedly look different after a divorce or separation, you can give your children some degree of normalcy by keeping beloved traditions wherever possible. Do you have a holiday day trip you take every year or a certain recipe you like to make? Keeping up with these traditions can make the first holiday season after a divorce or separation seem a bit more like those everyone has enjoyed in the past.

Let your children have a say

It may serve your family well to get your children’s own opinions as to how they want to celebrate the holiday season. While it is important to enjoy old traditions, you can also create new ones during this time that everyone can continue well into the future.

Navigating the holidays after a divorce or separation is undoubtedly difficult. It may help to reiterate to your children that a holiday season that’s different from what they’ve experienced in the past is not a bad or sad one. Instead, embrace the spirit of the season and help them find joy in it, regardless of how fresh your split is. Laying the groundwork for an enjoyable holiday season is an important step in helping you and your children find your “happily ever after.”