This video may be marketing from IKEA, but its message is real, and it struck a chord with me and the people I work with. At Christmas we all want to show our children how much we love them. We look forward to their excitement as Christmas comes near, and their expressions of joy as they open their presents. Of course, we want to be with them and, naturally, this is hard when parents are separated.
This video asks us to step back and think about what our children really want from us this Christmas, and this is especially important if we are separated.

I asked parenting consultant Elizabeth Troup for her tips on managing your first Christmas as separated parents and these are her five top recommendations:

1) If possible, talk to your ex beforehand to agree about what is in the children’s best interests.
2) Take note how you are both feeling as a parents this Christmas.
3) Listen to your children’s feelings and concerns about how Christmas will be this year and think about what they really need and want from you as parents.
4) Listen, empathise and discuss each other’s feelings and your children’s feelings (keeping it age appropriate).
5) Make a plan together what you will do this Christmas taking into account everyone’s concerns.

So what do your children really want from you this Christmas? If you want the best for your children following separation and would like to find out more about how mediation might help you achieve this, contact me for a free, no obligation chat on 07706 513496 or email