By Katie Davis
Spring has arrived, and you may be one of the dads that gets to have his kids this holiday weekend. Some families will be celebrating Easter, and others will just be spending quality time together.
Whatever your current plans are this weekend, it’s important to make sure you stay focused on the kids and the time spent with them. Don’t feel pressured to overdo your plans, prove yourself as the superior parent or talk to them about things beyond your control.
Remember, this time is about you and your kids.
Check out some of these tips for maximizing your time together and ensuring that all of you get to enjoy the weekend.
Put the kids’ priorities first. You may still be dealing with a bunch of leftover feelings or issues from the divorce. Perhaps, it even ended recently. While this probably still affects you, it doesn’t mean your kids should have to worry about these issues during your time together. Leave the grown-up problems out of this special weekend with your children.
If you happen to find yourself reverting back to negativity or upset feelings, remind yourself how valuable your kids are to you and how much you love spending time with them. You can even leave yourself a motivating post-it note or schedule a phone alert with an uplifting reminder. Just make sure you keep their needs as top priority.
Simplicity is key. Many times, the non-custodial parent feels pressure to plan out over-the-top activities or events when they have their kids, especially over holiday weekends. From theme park trips to expensive gifts and more, parents can sometimes feel that these kind of adventures or purchases are the best way to keep the kids happy when in their care.
But father and divorce journalist Jack Freur tells Family Education, “Children need normality. Try to establish an ordinary post-divorce life with your child.” For kids, dyeing Easter eggs, riding bikes or playing with the family pet can often be just as fun as the bigger events.
Don’t be afraid to say “no.” While you might feel inclined to shy away from discipline during the time you have with your kids, this is a mistake. Remember, at the end of the day, your chief role is to be the parent. Inevitably, kids will get themselves into trouble. It’s important that discipline is fair and consistent.
Freur points out that, ideally, both parents should at least work toward a single plan for rules and discipline with the children. That way, the rules can be upheld at both homes. If that really can’t be done, then it’s important that you at least remain consistent and fair with your particular plan.
Have fun! Don’t get too bogged down in worry about making this a so-called perfect weekend. Try to live in the moment, and enjoy whatever you and your kids get to do over the next few days. Whether you visit family members, hunt for Easter eggs, play outside or simply hang out, the kids will be happy you are there to spend time with them. And they’ll be happy they can just be kids.