When you get divorced, you know that many things are going to change.  One of the big ones is how you celebrate birthdays and holidays with your children.  It is often outlined in divorce agreements when each parent will have the children for which holiday, but in reality it can become more complicated than that.  Here are a few things you might want to consider:

Communicate:  In almost any situation, good communication is what keeps things flowing smoothly.  Make sure you and your previous partner are on the same page when it comes to drop off and pick up times, who will have the children when, and even what presents you are each giving to the children.  This will stave off arguments over misunderstandings and eliminate duplicate gifts.

Ask Your Child:  Since the holidays tend to revolve around children, ask yours what their preferences are when it comes to celebrating.  Let them know ahead of time that you won’t necessarily be able to do what they ask, but that you want to take their thoughts and feelings into consideration.  They might even come up with ideas that you really like too!

Keep Your Traditions:  Just because you and your ex aren’t together anymore doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your normal traditions.  If you normally take your child to their favourite restaurant on their birthday, continue to do so.  You could consider inviting the other parent along for the occasion, so your child knows they are loved on both sides.

Celebrate Together:  If you and your ex get along fairly well, it might work to have one big celebration.  Your children will be happy to see that the two of you can stand to be in the same room together, and it can provide a great amount of emotional stability for them.  Plan the party at a neutral place, such as a rented hall or a park, instead of anyone’s house.  This keeps one parent from feeling like they have more pressure or responsibility, and old memories can be avoided.  While not every former couple can pull this off, it’s impressive to everyone when they can!

Don’t Take it Personally:  No matter what decisions are made, remind yourself that this isn’t about you or your divorce.  Some couples are worried about what others will think if they choose to have their celebrations one way or another, whether with the ex or without.  It can make them feel self-conscious about being in the same room with their former spouse in front of others.  Sometimes the party planning may not go your way and you may feel that you’re missing out.  Just know that you are doing what is best for your kids, and that’s all that truly matters.

The most important thing to remember about all of this is that the children must be your priority.  No matter what hard feelings you may still have towards your ex, don’t let them ruin your kid’s big day.  Your children should never have to see their parents in conflict.  Keep open lines of communication and an open mind, and your celebration will work out just fine.