With the season upon us, how do you deal with your coParent ex this time of year? School parties, social obligations and children are at the center of both your lives.

Put your child first: this is a big order, especially when there is a divorce. We all know you really don’t want to see each other, yet it is inevitable. Decide how much of this togetherness you can accept, be it at the school holiday party or at a visit to see Santa.

If you can do one activity together as a family, wonderful! Your child will benefit. If you can’t, talk in advance away from your child to decide how the holiday events will be divided. I used to only email my coParent, as it was easier to keep communication healthy, and some former spouses text only. (If it works, do it).

Do not use this as a time to feel sad, and if you do have those feelings, check yourself and process away from the children. One of my saddest holidays was when my children were with their Dad on Christmas Eve and I was home alone. Thank goodness for friends. I went to my best friend’s house, had a lovely visit, feeling that the world would go on and I could survive being alone.

Anticipate this, and make plans, even if it’s being alone, buy yourself a gift, take a nature walk, or stream your favorite movie with a glass of wine. What is most important is to talk about all this with your coParent in advance, away from the children, so that the time spent is planned with no surprises and the children are kept in the center of what is best.

Then it is your job to be compassionate to yourself, taking the best care of you, and finding joy in the season.

Author Debbie Ficarra has been the proud owner of La Canada preschool, located outside of Loa Angeles, for 13 years. Prior to becoming a mother to three daughters, Ficarra gained her childhood education, acquiring her AA in Child Development and BA and Masters in Human Development. She also took the required coursework for a degree in Marriage and Family. Ficarra then purchased La Cañada Preschool, which was a dream come true. As a divorcee, and now newly married, Ficarra also knows about working through a divorce with young children. Her main goal in life – family and at work – is to provide the best environment for her preschool students that range between the ages of two and five.