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Recently divorced? 4 ways to make holidays happier for your kids

The holidays can be a very difficult time of year for parents who are newly divorced and navigating the season as separate families for the first time. Parents and kids can feel sad, scared and stressed out about what to expect when they are celebrating holidays.

However, newly divorced parents can take steps to help their children -- and themselves -- have a happier holiday season.

Focus on the children

No matter how old your kids are, they probably look forward to the holidays. Focusing on their experiences can therefore be crucial. Avoid drama and contentious battles; indulge in their imaginations; take them out ice skating or for a walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday lights, even on days when you'd rather stay in bed. Doing things that make them happy can make this a more enjoyable time for you as well.

Start new traditions

Observing certain traditions can help maintain a sense of stability during the holidays. However, introducing a new tradition or two this year can mark the beginning of a fresh, exciting chapter and give your kids something to look forward to next year.

Be flexible

Complications come up and can lead to changed plans and altered custody schedules. Parents who can be flexible and adapt to these changes -- within reason -- can minimize the stress and contention that might otherwise arise.

Don't overspend

It can be tempting to try to buy the affection of your kids or get them gifts in an effort to cover up the difficulties of the divorce. However, overspending might only make your situation worse if it creates financial strain. Rather than trying to buy a better holiday for your kids, focus on providing truly meaningful gifts like quality time together. 

Another vital thing you can do for your kids this holiday is to comply with your custody and parenting agreements. Failure to do this can lead to police interactions, legal battles, disappointment and fear that a child should not have to experience. If you have any concerns about your parental rights or obligations this holiday season, you would be wise to discuss them with an attorney.

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