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Separation and divorce does not need to dampen your child’s festive holiday spirit according to Faalolo Kurene, Manager at Townsville’s Family Relationship Centre.

Keep the day stress-free for your children with these tips from the Family Relationship Centre.

Meaningful contact
If you have them that day encourage them to have meaningful contact with their other parent whatever the holiday, be it their birthday or Christmas. If it’s long distance, there are plenty of video options such as Facebook Messenger, Skype or Facetime.

Don’t buy their affection
There are no prizes for the best gifts. Other than a potential argument with your ex, don’t try and buy your child’s affection. Consult with your ex and either set budget guidelines or go halves in your child’s gifts.

Celebrate another day
Not your turn to have your children? Pick a date when you do have them and create your own day of celebration.

Allow them to help you make decisions
All kids, regardless of age, want to feel like they have some say about how they spend the holiday. Involve your child in the decision-making process, but try to avoid manipulation of the situation, that only adds stress and worry to your child that they will let someone down.

Inform your ex of important events
Make sure they know about any events, concerts or activities coming up so that they have the opportunity to attend.

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Lastly, whatever you do, refrain from arguing
Especially in front of your children. If necessary, use a communication book to write notes to your ex to avoid any potential screaming matches.

Remember that your child comes first, and you’re their to co-parent. If they are having a hard time coping, contact Centacare North Queensland to arrange a private and professional counselling session. You can also visit http://www.reachout.com for 24/7 online and phone support appropriate for teenagers.