It’s not easy being a single father during the holidays, especially if you have joint custody of your children. Ensuring your kids get a fair holiday situation can be difficult, and if you don’t get to spend as much time with them as you’d like, it can get even harder. Read on for tips to ensure a happy holiday season for the whole family.
There are two major things you have to be aware of:
- Your kids need equal attention and love from you
- Your kids need equal time spent with each parent
Even if you haven’t been able to successfully meet both of these goals in the past, this holiday season, you can do both. It takes a bit of planning, a pinch of hard work—and maybe some holiday magic—but you can spend the holidays with your children and make it a wonderful memory you’ll all cherish for the rest of your lives.
Here’s how to create a fair holiday situation with your kids.
By Being Traditional
For many families, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without traditions.
And since your family is as unique as the next one, your most loved tradition may be something as simple as cutting down a Christmas tree together. It might be a complex game of Monopoly while holiday music plays in the background and cider heats on the stovetop.
Whatever it is, it’s your tradition. It just wouldn’t be fair to put your kids through a holiday season without something warm and loving to enjoy with their dad. And traditions are the things your kids associate with the holidays—and their time spent with you.
Hold onto those things even as they get older; part of creating a fair holiday situation is staying true to the holiday as you see it, especially if it your kids spend it split up between two separate homes.
By Being Santa Claus
The part that really gets your kids excited, though, is the gifts. It’s not a competition between you and their mother, either. Kids aren’t always elated by the most expensive gift; sometimes they simply want to see that you care.
As a single dad, you need to know one important trick of giving gifts: be personal. Gift cards from iTunes and Amazon are great for stockings; but do more than that. Show your kids how you care about them by paying attention to their lives and catering your gift to their needs and wants.
For example, if your daughter loves to read and you always see her nose in a book, she would love a digital reader like the Nook or Kindle. But this is where that trick comes in handy: really show her that you care by getting her favorite book series already loaded on the device. The Hunger Games series, the Twilight series, even the Harry Potter series are excellent gifts that provide hours and hours of enjoyment.
You don’t need to spring for the most expensive model with 3G and a built-in hologram display screen that also makes ice cream. But you do need to personalize the gift somehow. That’s why it’s special.
But if you do it for one kid, you’ve got to do it for them all. It’s only fair (and it’s good parenting).
By Being There
Perhaps the best thing you can do during the holidays, whether your family celebrates for one day or for eight days, is to simply be there. Be reliable. Be the one your kids count on to show them what the holidays are all about.
The example you set this year is the example they will follow in their own lives. You’re not only giving your own kids a great lesson, you’re ensuring that your grandkids will experience a loving, caring holiday season in their own lives no matter the family situation.
Sometimes, the situations our kids are in aren’t fair. Growing up with two separate households is difficult for a child, so it’s up to us to make certain aspects of their lives as fair as possible. The holidays, and the intimate time spent with our kids, is one of those times when fairness is a necessity.
The hard work you’re putting in now is exceptional for one very big reason. You’re pulling off something that Santa himself has never tried—you’re being a great dad.