Shared Parenting: How Divorced Dads Can Celebrate Father’s Day

When you’re divorced or going through a divorce, you and your (soon-to-be) ex may need to create a Shared Parenting Plan. A Shared Parenting Plan details schedules for visitation, holidays and other dates as they relate to the children. This is an important document to smooth out your parenting transition. What happens, though, when Father’s Day roll around and you have to face the reality of the situation – we’re divorced and I might not have my kids for the entire day.

There are ways to cope whether you have your children for the whole day, part of the day or if you won’t see them at all.

How to Celebrate

How to celebrate if you won’t be with your children because you are working, live too far away or myriad other reasons.

  1. Prepare yourself for the barrage of television ads and promotions surrounding the holiday. Consider what feelings you might have, address them and have a plan to keep yourself busy.
  2. Skype or video chat with your kids. Even if you’re not there with them, you can still talk with them and share part of the day. Have a plan for the time you’ll be spending together on Skype – read a book, tell a story, have a list of questions to ask the kids to help you stay connected.
  3. Write your kids a letter. Tell them how much they mean to you. Share a story that is unique to each one. That letter will be a memory they will treasure and just might be the start of a great tradition.

In many divorce situations, the parents will have time with the children on Father’s Day, religious holidays, birthdays, etc.

If you have your children for part of the day:

  1. Have a plan. You don’t have to always “go big.” Plan activities that all of the children will enjoy and that gives you maximum interaction time. Don’t plop them down in front of the television. Cook a meal together. Go to the park. Take a walk. Ride bikes.
  2. If your father is still alive and you only have your children for a portion of the day, spend time with your dad.
  3. Take photos of the time you spent together and start a photo album or scrapbook for each of your children to mark the fun times.

If you will have your children for the entire day:

  1. Do some advance planning so the day is memorable and fun. Remember, not every visitation has to include amusement parks. Your children enjoy the time spent with you. Plan activities around meal times and nap times so everyone has fun and doesn’t get overtired or cranky.
  2. Work on a craft together. Plant some flowers or vegetables. Grab some craft supplies and work on a project together that they can either leave at your house or take home with them – give them the option. If they have bedrooms at your home, make a craft that they can hang on their bedroom wall, for example.
  3. Get the kids involved in what the menu will be for the day you’re together. Plan a picnic for lunch and gather in the kitchen to cook the meal they’ve chosen for dinner.

No matter how much time you have with the kids on Father’s Day, take photos. The time your children are young is fleeting and you want to document every moment. Be prepared for Father’s Day to be an emotional one, especially if it’s the first since the divorce was finalized, but enjoy the time with your children to the fullest.

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