Specialists at local firm, Mediation Now, have come up with a survival guide for all families to enjoy the festive season.
- Plan – Sort out contact arrangements well in advance. Children should be clear when they are seeing their parents. If you can’t agree, seek professional advice.
- Budget – Christmas can be a financial pressure that is a major cause of relationship breakdown. Agree a budget and stick to it.
- Family – Christmas is a time for families, whether parents are together or not. Don’t forget grandparents who may have been looking forward to seeing the children all year – they are a child’s family too
- Presents – If you are separated from your child’s mother/father, make sure you discuss Christmas presents to avoid doubling up (but keep receipts anyway) and resist the temptation to be competitive.
- Be Child-Focused – There is no doubt that Christmas is most magical for children, so focus on them and their enjoyment. Remember, children don’t mind when Christmas is celebrated – a calendar date has little significance in their thinking.
- Be Thoughtful – It really is ‘the thought that counts’. Feeling disgruntled or even arguing over unwanted gifts or not getting the right chocolates causes tension and unhappiness. A present is easier to take back than hurtful comments.
- Be Kind to Others – At Christmas, everyone needs to cut each other some slack. Remember, we all have different expectations and perspectives. Take a deep breath, try and see a situation from the other person’s point of view and ask yourself ‘Is this really important?’ If not (it usually isn’t) let it go.
- Be Kind to Yourself – Don’t put pressure on yourself. You might not cook like Nigella Lawson, bake like Mary Berry or make handmade Christmas decorations like Kirstie Allsopp, but you will be with people who just want your time, attention and a bit of fun, so take time to enjoy yourself with them.
- Put the Kettle On – If any situation is getting too much, leave the room. British people have the national excuse of ‘putting the kettle’ at any time of the day, so escape to the kitchen for some deep breaths and a moment of perspective. If the situation is in the kitchen, there’s always the loo.
- Batteries – Every single one of us at Mediation Now has been caught out at Christmas and gone dashing out to find any open shop that can bring children’s toys to life. Stock up on batteries. Trust us; you’ll thank us on Christmas morning.
For more information visit www.mediation-now.co.uk