How to Help Children of Divorce Enjoy Their Christmas

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Soila Sindiyo
Dr. Soila Sindiyo
Psychologist and Founding Editor
The Divorce Magazine

Christmas is soon upon us and from speaking with people it seems to be very much like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.

But when you are going through a divorce or have just been through one, it can be one of the most difficult and challenging holidays you will have and for your children, possibly one of the most confusing times.

So here are some things that you could do to make sure that they are all right, to make sure that they enjoy this time as much as possible.

  • Let them know exactly what the plans are during the festive season, i.e. whom they’re spending the holidays with, where, how and for how long.  If they’re spending time with your ex and you don’t know what the plans are for them, then let them know this too but if you can get this information for them then do so and pass it on to them. It’s all about alleviating any anxieties and worries that may come due to the uncertainty of plans. Prepare them in advance.


  • You could arrange for the children to have an “early” Christmas with the parent with whom they will not be spending their holiday time with.  They could replicate what they would have done were they to be together including opening presents etc.  Rituals are important practices to mark occasions and giving the children this time with the other parent provides them with a time to practice this ritual and with both parents too albeit at different times and different locations.


  • Not the best time to introduce a new partner. That you’re now divorced or separated and it’s their first Christmas living in this new world, will mean that your children will need time to adjust to this new life without the added complication of adjusting to a new person in their life.


  • Prepare yourself to hear that one of their wishes is to have mummy and daddy back together if only for a day and prepare yourself for them to make efforts to achieve this goal. This is normal behaviour.


  • Don’t make the children worry about you or feel guilty that they are not with you over Christmas by telling them how lonely you will be. Look after them by telling them that you will be fine and that you have plans etc. If you don’t have plans then make some. By all means, do tell them that you will miss them not that you will be lonely without them and how difficult this will be for you.

Read more articles by Dr Soila Sindiyo.

About Dr Soila Sindiyo

Dr Soila Sindiyo is a counselling psychologist and a child development psychologist who has worked with children, young people and families for several years. She is the founding editor of The Divorce Magazine and is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner.

Her private practice website parentinglives.co.uk

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