One of our Advent traditions is me hiding these Advent boxes I made for Anya a few years back. Basically, these were just different cardboard shaped boxes I got from Michaels that I painted red and green. Then I cut out Christmas scrap book paper and pasted it on top with stick on numbers and Christmas embellishments. She loves them! I put little trinkets in them and hide them around the house every day until Christmas!
Holidays can be complex when you’re co-parenting, but if you keep the lines of communication open and boundaries in place you will get through it. What is most important is that your kids enjoy their holiday, feel loved, and spend time with their parents with as little confusion as possible.
Here are my 5 Tips on Keeping Co-parenting During the Holidays Civil and Happy!
- Confirm Plans with the Other Parent: Many parents have a court-appointed schedule in place for the holidays which lays out the specifics of pick up and drop off times. If you don’t have an order, it’s important to communicate with your child’s parent the days your child will spend with them for the holiday, the time they will pick them up, and return them home. I suggest writing the schedule in an email and then communicating a week before to confirm so there won’t be any surprises or miscommunication.
- Stick to the Schedule: Consistency is so important when you share the holidays. Listen, things happen that can be out of our control, but try to stick to the structure you have in place. Kids won’t feel shuffled around, instead they will feel secure if they know the plan.
- Keep Lines of Communication Open with Your Kids: Communicating with your kids about the holiday schedule shows that you respect them. Let them know at least a month ahead of time who they will be with during the holiday and how the time will be split. This is especially important with very young children. In my experience kids are pretty adaptable as long as you communicate clearly and honestly with them.
- Plan in Advance: Make the transition as simple and stress-free as possible. If they’re packing a bag, make sure they have everything they need at least a few days in advance. If you want to celebrate with them, do it a couple days before they leave. Another, thing you may want to do in advance is have them call their relatives before they leave if they won’t be able to talk to them on the actual holiday. A little preparation goes a long way in co-parenting.
- Put Your Best Foot Forward: Holidays are highly emotional and potentially stressful times. If you’re in a good place with your children’s father that is great! But, the reality is for many this is a complex relationship. I can’t stress enough how important it is to the well-being of your children to set aside differences during the holiday transition so they feel comfortable about leaving with the other parent. A kind word and a smile won’t kill you. If you’re the parent who has your child during the holiday, encourage them to call the other parent and if possible you may even want to offer a day for them to spend some time together.
The best thing you can do is always put your kids first and do what is best for them. The cooperation and kindness you show to your child’s dad is the biggest gift you can give them!
Not rushing the season, but I’ll be creating Christmas cards again this year! If you are interested in purchasing a bundle, please send me a message by using the Contact Form to the left. In addition, I have linen pouches you can purchase if you want to put the card on your gifts instead of sending them, it is a really pretty touch.
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In our home Advent has become a tradition and it is how we keep focused on Christ during the Christmas season. Celebrating Christmas is more than decorations, gifts, and cookies it is a time to reflect on Christ and his birth. Advent is a wonderful and fun way to prepare our family’s hearts and minds for Christmas and to stay Christ-centered. We celebrate Christ’s birth in a few different ways, such as an Advent calendar, Advent boxes, and last year I decided to put up an Advent tree on our porch. This is a new tradition added on to our old ones that I’m loving! We also light the Advent candles and read scriptures at dinner (I’ll post a pic of our candles this week) Here are a few pictures of what we do here to celebrate!
This is a simple tree I have on my porch that has become the Advent Tree! In our house we have a fresh pine tree, but since we want to do this every year I bought a tree last year and we decorated it very simply with burlap, white lights and Advent envelope holders with the scripture inside. Each night we take one of the scriptures and read it at dinner. I also have a nativity scene on our porch.
We’ve had this calendar for years! I put chocolates inside and there are manger figurines in a few of the boxes that we take out leading up to Christmas.
I made these Advent Boxes for Anya at least 4 years ago and they are one of her favorite things! I put little treats in them and hide them around the house each day.
How do you celebrate Advent? What are your family’s traditions? I would love to hear how you stay focused on Christ during Christmas!
I’m just coming off a very fun and exhausting week of Vacation Bible School with my church. Every summer Anya looks forward to attending VBS and has become one of the highlights of her summer and I’m grateful for her excitement. I volunteer each year, but this year I stretched myself and taught the 2-3 year olds. Wow! Now that was an experience! The kids are adorable, but they are 2 and 3 years old and their attention span is …well that of a 2-3 year old! Although at times difficult it was rewarding and I have a new appreciation for what our teachers at church do for our children.
Here’s the thing… VBS is a long week and it is fun, but it is hard too! Most people work so they coming straight from work to church from around 5:45 until 9:00 at night it is a long day. Our church offers dinner and snacks and everyone appreciates their thoughtfulness and the people who are in the kitchen on a 96 degree day! Then we celebrate with a party for the kids on Saturday. It is a full week! But, VBS is worth it because it is a consecutive period of time where brothers, sisters and children of the church serve together.
VBS is more than fun games, it is a week of unique fellowship with one another. At the end of this past week I left with a deep sense of gratitude for how our church serves us and how every member makes a difference. I was thankful that my church invited everyone in member or not and treated them with love and respect. Not to mention how it gives our kids the opportunity to learn valuable biblical lessons, they have wholesome fun, develop closer relationships to their peers and they witness you serving your church family. VBS is the kind of work that is fruitful.
Then there are the memories… If you’ve attended a VBS you know that the memories you create are going to last way past that week. Isn’t that what we are trying to do for our kids, create memories? Warm memories that will remind them later when they may be tempted not to attend church of how fun it was, how people cared about them and how every summer VBS was a highlight. Don’t underestimate the power of these memories they are so meaningful to your children and are planting the seeds.
So with all that said… I encourage you to attend VBS! Volunteer, serve, step outside your comfort zone and when you are exhausted after a long night try to remember that this exhaustion is a good type because it is for serving the Lord! I hope if you went to VBS you had a wonderful time and it becomes a highlight of your summer!
Is your family starting to get the after Christmas blues? Well cheer up! Christmas vacation isn’t over just yet! Check out Jill Savage’s 25 Ways to Make Christmas Break a Blast and suck up every second you have left of 2015!
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We did, it had it’s ups and downs but we spent time with family, loved one another and remembered that the reason we are celebrating is because of the priceless gift of our Savior Jesus Christ. Here are just a few pictures of what we did!