Talking to your toddler about divorce

Toddlers are young and may not understand everything there is to know about getting a divorce, but it’s still important to make sure you talk to them and help them understand what’s happening. As an adult, you may be dealing with your own concerns and issues regarding your divorce, and that might make you overlook the reality that your child is dealing with concerns, too.

Even though a toddler may find it hard to express their concerns or fears, you still need to take time to help them understand what’s happening and to find ways to make them feel secure. How? Start by talking to them in an age-appropriate manner.

Age-appropriate divorce discussions and toddlers

All toddlers are different, so you need to adjust your conversation to your child’s level. For most toddlers, breaking down the conversation into small, understandable facts is best. For example, you may say, “mom and dad are going to live in different homes now.” “You’re going to have two houses.” “You will see mom or dad on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

If you’re staying in your home, tell your toddler if they’ll be staying or going, too. For instance, saying, “Dad is moving to a new house. You will stay in this house. You will visit dad at his house on Monday,” is a good way to break down what’s happening into understandable chunks. Your child may not fully understand what’s happening or how child custody works, but giving them that simple information helps them process what’s going on around them.

It’s also important to reassure your child during this transition. You may be feeling angry or sad, and those feelings can rub off on your kids. Make sure that they know that you love them and that they are not in trouble. Say that you love them and make certain that you spend time with them to make sure they don’t feel lonely or left out.

These are a few things you can do to help your toddler with divorce as you approach and go through it yourself. They may be young, but these tips will help them process the divorce and move forward with you more easily.