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Talking to your child about divorce: Young children

It’s hard to go through a divorce at any age, but imagine the struggle a young child goes through when mom or dad is no longer there to tuck him or her in at night. It can be disruptive and difficult to explain a divorce to a child, especially when your child is young.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can make sure your child is as comfortable as possible while you finalize your divorce and move on with your life. These three tips help to ensure that your little one doesn’t feel left out or that the divorce is his or her fault.

1. Talk to your child

If your child is very young, talking to your child about divorce may be as simple as explaining what is happening in an age-appropriate manner. For example, “Your father and I no longer want to live in the same home, but we both still love you and want you to share a home with each of us. We will have two houses and you will live in both of them.” Keeping the information short and sweet takes the drama out of the divorce and helps your child understand that he or she is still loved and will be cared for in the future.

2. Spend extra time with your child

For young children, not seeing a parent as often as usual can throw a wrench in his or her routine. Try your best to keep the schedule as normal as possible. For instance, if dad was always there to tuck in your child on the weekends but came home late during the week, try to make time for your child’s father to be there before bedtime on the weekends. Likewise, if you and your spouse typically go to the school for events, don’t stop because you’re uncomfortable. Instead, focus on what your child needs and be supportive.

3. Take drama out of the home

Don’t argue in front of your child. Your child doesn’t deserve the extra stress. If you must argue, do so when you know your child is not around, so he or she doesn’t overhear the dispute.

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