Entering into a new partnership when you both have children from previous relationships can be an adjustment for everyone involved. Both of you have to transition into the role of step-parent, while also caring for your own children and reassuring them. Your kids may get along perfectly well with their new siblings, but it might take some getting used to, especially on big occasions like Christmas.
The chances are that the children involved will be spending time with their other parent at some point over the holidays, or you might even decide to invite everybody around, so your blended family doesn't feel separated. Whatever your plans, we've got a few tips that can help make it run as smooth as a sled through the snow.
Preparation is key. Both your children and your partner's children might be wondering where they're going to become the main event. Ask them what their ideal situation is and try and make it happen if it's possible. The kids might be excited to spend their first Christmas with their new siblings, but also feel guilty because they want to spend time with their other parent, too. Make sure that everything is planned out in advance, from drop-off times to who spends what night where. This will help everyone feel more prepared and in control.
Create new traditions. Creating new family traditions might help you to all bond over the holidays, and give the kids an idea of what to expect moving forward. Emphasize that you're not trying to replace old traditions, but are excited to create new fun memories together in this new family set up. Older children can be trickier than younger ones, so tread lightly.
Keep the festive spirit alive - no matter what. It doesn't always go to plan when you're dealing with split families and custody agreements, so prepare for the eventuality that you may not have everyone under one roof. Although it's tempting to sit around and brood, keep the festive spirit going and try not to dwell. Kids are like magnets for emotion, so keep everything jolly and bright. That's what they'll remember in years to come.
Respect space. It can be difficult for some kids to adjust to new set-ups, so don't be too hard on yourself if you're met with a little resistance along the way. This kind of situations can take time and it might not all fall into place instantly. If this is your first rodeo, patience is key.