How to navigate the holidays in a blended family

The holiday season is going to look different for most Michigan families in 2020. With indoor residential gatherings restricted to 10 people from two households, you may have to forego your customary traditions to keep your family and loved ones safe. On top of that, if you’re trying to manage the holidays post-divorce, this season may feel more overwhelming than most.

Blended families have special needs to account for during the holidays and special events. For many divorced parents, deciding how to share time with the kids often brings up conflict and the need for compromise. Here are a few tips to ensure the holidays go smoothly for your blended family.

Make a plan

If you haven’t already, take time to talk to your ex and establish a custody schedule from now until the beginning of the new year. Try to iron out all the details in advance, such as how you’ll be splitting the time, where the pick-up and drop-off locations will be and how you will handle gift-giving. Parents can minimize conflict and reduce anxiety by agreeing on a plan ahead of time.

Prepare your kids

Once you and your ex have established your plans, you should talk to your children about them so that they know what to expect in the coming weeks. Kids can be prone to feelings of guilt about spending time away from one parent, so be sure to speak positively about your ex and their new partner to help ease their concerns.

Prepare your extended family

Extended family members may not always be fair or welcoming to new members of blended families. If you have relatives that you think may be difficult, talk to them in advance and let them know that you want everyone to be treated the same. For example, if your relatives only want to buy your biological children gifts and not your stepchildren, you should insist that they cooperate or tell them you will celebrate with them at a different time.

Create new traditions

Creating new rituals and traditions is an essential part of moving on both for parents and their children. Talk with your new partner about how you can bring your family together to make the holidays special. You can still respect and acknowledge old traditions your family had with your ex, but making new memories can help everyone adjust to the new normal.