Advice & Inspiration

Published on December 10th, 2013 | by Parenting Solo


Apart from your children this Christmas? Eight coping strategies to get you through

If this is your first Christmas apart from your children post separation or divorce, you might be wondering just HOW you are going to get through the day – or days.  Here are our top tips for having a manageable child-free time. 

1) Accept invitations even if you think you won’t feel like going. The thought of being in someone else’s house (particularly if they have children) might seem unbearable in advance, but you will probably appreciate it on the day (plus when you are back with your children you can  talk of the lovely time you’ve had – it will be important for them to know you did something fun too).

2) Remember it is just a day. There are 364 others you can make just as special.

3) Try to look upon the festive access arrangements as your child having TWICE the Christmas magic, rather than you being deprived of one or two days of it.

4) Do something constructive with your time. One mum told us: “I spent last Christmas away from my children so I volunteered at a homeless shelter instead of staying home alone. I was surrounded by families who could not give their children anything, and it made me reflect on how lucky I am and appreciate the boys more when they came home”.

5) Don’t be tempted to have a duvet day. If you can’t face celebrating with others, at least do something nice for yourself: good food, rubbish telly and a pampering session.

6) Don’t think about the what ifs.

7) Re-tune the radio away from ‘festive FM’. We will concede the constant reminder to be cheerful via Wizzard and Slade can break even the hardest of resolves. Ditto Christmas carols.

8) Don’t bottle it up if it gets too much – it’s NOT nice being away from your kids, and for some people it will be more of a big deal than for others. Do not feel a failure or a wuss (or like you are ruining someone else’s day) if you need to talk your feelings through with someone.

What are your top tips?

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About the Author

Parenting Solo

is an online resource for lone parents, offering news, debate, features and expert opinion. It is edited by journalist and broadcaster Kelly Rose Bradford.

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