Father’s Day: Ideas for Divorced Families

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June 15, 2015, ACES

General Tips

Step One: Plan early.

Father's Day: Ideas for Divorced FamiliesThe earlier you and the father of your child can agree on what he would like to do on Father’s Day the easier the day will be. Be specific about who is doing what and when. Clear, specific plans help everyone remain calmer and enjoy the day. Check websites for ideas.

Step Two: Communicate with your child.

Once you and your ex agree on plans for the day decide how you will communicate this with your child with autism as well as with other children you have together. Again, have clear and specific plans.

Step Three: Stay flexible.

You know all too well that even the best plans have to be altered, sometimes at the last minute. Have backup plans; make changes fun; keep a good attitude.

For Divorced Moms

What role should divorced mothers of children on the autism spectrum disorder play in preparing your child for Father’s Day? One of the most important things any mother can do is to teach her children to love, honor and respect their father. Though you may no longer be married, your ex-husband is still the father of your special needs child. Today is his day and that’s okay. Remember, Mother’s Day was not too long ago and he did his part (hopefully).

Here are a few tips specifically for divorced mothers to make the most of Father’s Day for all involved.

Your Child’s Father

Be flexible. It might be hard to do depending on your circumstances, but ask your former husband what his preference is for Father’s Day. Make an honest effort to accommodate his requests. Maybe he would like the child for the whole day and night, or perhaps he favors time alone or with friends. Be considerate of what he wants. Avoid at all costs putting the child in the middle of any negotiations with your former partner. Your child benefits when parents treat one another with respect.

Your Child

As with any other day, put the needs of your child with autism first. Help him demonstrate the love he has for his father because he may have difficulty in doing that by himself. Set up a structured activity and make Dad a homemade gift and card. Check out Pinterest for some DIY ideas. The main purpose is to use this as an opportunity to spend time on nurturing the connection with your child while also fostering the connection he has with his father.


Take some time for yourself today. Thinking about the celebration your child is having with his father when you are no longer living together as a family can be difficult. You may have memories of happier times when you were all together as a family on Father’s Day. Go for a walk, get a manicure, or head to a coffee shop and catch up on some reading. Whatever you do, spend energy appreciating what you have (an exceptional child!) not what you don’t have. Be sure to reach out to your own father if you can.

Helping your child get ready for Father’s Day is going to help him feel good about himself. Furthermore, a little effort towards your ex on his special day not only benefits your child but can also contribute to a more harmonious co-parenting relationship.