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Putting your kids first during divorce is the best holiday gift

During the holidays, it can be hard to manage all the things going on in your life on top of a divorce. Remember, you're not the only person struggling, though. For your children, the divorce makes the holidays uncertain, so it's a good idea to talk to them early and to reassure them about where they'll be, what they're doing and what to expect.

There are dozens of ways to deal with the holidays, and with the right discussions beforehand, you can work out a way to make the holidays fun for everyone. Here are some tips for putting your kids first and enjoying the holiday season.

1. Avoid arguments

No child wants to know that he or she is the center of conflict. If your child's whereabouts cause concerns over the holidays, talk to your ex-spouse beforehand about what you expect. Do you expect to have your child on Christmas Day? Where does your child want to go for Thanksgiving or Christmas, if he or she is old enough to make that decision? Work out a plan, so you don't have to argue about the basics of holiday custody arrangements.

2. Plan for unexpected events

Did a family event run longer than expected? Did your ex-spouse arrive late to pick up the kids? Try not to sweat the small stuff during the holidays. They can be frantic, even at the best of times, so try to be flexible.

3. Give your child the final say

When your child is old enough to do so and you're not sure about what's happening during the holidays, ask your child what he or she wants to do. If your child loves spending time with his or her dad during the holidays because he or she has half-siblings in the other home, then that may be what's best for your child. Plan for other holiday arrangements that you can share with your child, like a special trip to go shopping or a movie night out, so you also get time together.

These are a few tips for putting your kids first during the holidays. Over time, it will get easier to plan for these busy times of the year.

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