This may be the first holiday season you’re enduring after your divorce or, like many Floridians, you might be considering filing for divorce either now or soon after New Year’s. This is an especially difficult time of year for single parents.

According to Psychology Today, nothing is more important for divorced parents during the holidays than putting their kids first. While it may sound unpleasant, this usually means setting aside your differences with your partner or ex and preserving as much family harmony as possible. This gives your children a better chance to enjoy the holidays and not associate this time of year with bad memories of their parents arguing with each other or fighting over visitation.

The following tips may help when you are planning your family holiday time:

  • Determine ahead of time where your children will be during the holiday. You might have them on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, but they may go to your ex’s on Christmas Day.
  • Try to be civil to your ex, even if he or she is making things difficult. Don’t let your kids see the conflict, if you can help it.
  • Focus on creating new traditions and memories for each holiday.
  • If your kids are with your ex and you are alone on a holiday, try to find a meaningful way to spend this time. This might include spending time with friends or family, donating your time to the less fortunate or simply enjoying some down time alone.

The holidays can be hard when your marriage didn’t work out how you had hoped. Fortunately, being divorced and sharing the kids during the holidays doesn’t mean you or your children are destined to be unhappy.