Just three short years ago, you brought your child into the world. Today, your child is learning to walk and talk. They're quickly picking up on new activities and learning their ABCs.
You have a talented toddler who is making all the progress you could have wanted, but there is a problem brewing: your divorce. You and your spouse aren't getting along well, and for the sake of your child, you want to divorce. You don't want your child to grow up in a home where they're around conflicts or hearing negative things about their parents.
Transitioning to a single-parent home may be a little tough for your child, though. Fortunately, there is information that can help. Here's a little bit about what you should expect as a parent of a toddler and a person going through a divorce.
Your child will be affected by your emotions
To start with, remember that your child is going to be affected by your emotions. If you're angry or upset, they'll notice and may become upset themselves. If you're arguing with your spouse, they're going to pick up on that conflict.
You do need to explain the divorce to your child in age-appropriate terms
Some parents don't realize that they need to explain divorce to their children at this age, but it is important to do so. You can explain what is going to happen (or what is happening) in an age-appropriate way, so that your child doesn't have to feel confused or afraid.
Here's an example. If your spouse is going to be moving out in the next few days, you can tell your child that they will be going to a new home. Explain where your child will live. Explain that they will continue to see both mom and dad. You may also want to take them to that new home when the other parent is moved in, so that they see that they will have a bedroom and a good place to live there.
You should explain that your child will go back and forth between homes. You could say, "You are going to dad's house today and coming back to mom's house tomorrow. You're taking your stuffed toy and clothes with you. When you wake up tomorrow, you'll get ready. Then, I'll come pick you up."
Simple explanations can help your child understand. Remember, they may need reminders throughout this process. Children do adapt quickly, though, so with good explanations and simple parenting techniques, you can make this a positive experience.