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Tips for Young Children and Divorce

Updated on January 3, 2015

How-To Change Your Child's Expression

You can take away the sadness of divorce and put smiles back on your children's faces.
You can take away the sadness of divorce and put smiles back on your children's faces.


Stability, happiness, young children and divorce, which of these words doesn't fit? If you have any experience with divorce then you know that this is the word that doesn't fit in the sequence. However, for 50 percent of children in the United States, divorce is an event that is a part of their lives. If you are a parent of a young child and you are going through a divorce or if you have completed a divorce, then you need to learn how to work with your former spouse to create a loving home environment and family dynamic that your young child will be able to thrive in.

Babies and Divorce

A parent's divorce is difficult for children of all ages to deal with, however for babies divorce is something that is experienced in a rather abstract manner. This is because babies don't understand concepts like divorce and marriage. Their understanding of the world is based on the predictability of certain events and on their interactions with their parents. If you want to ensure that your baby is not negatively affected by your divorce, then you will need to do what you can to maintain a routine, provide them with lots of attention and affection and to minimize the amount of emotional stress that they are exposed to.

Tips: Having a comfort item that the baby can take with them to each parent's house is a good option. This will help the baby feel secure during the transitions.

Toddlers and Divorce

As children get older they become more aware of changes in their environment, and they are better able to express their emotions and they are better able to read the emotions of others. If you are divorced or are getting divorced and have a toddler then you need to spend more time on explaining to them what is going on and reassuring them that everything will be fine and both you and their other parent still loves them. These words will help alleviate their anxiety and help strengthen your bond with them. Also, like with babies, routines will be important to maintain at both your house and their other parent's house, as will having a common set of rules for the toddler to follow.

Tip: As kids get older they will be able to understand more about what is going on. To help make their transition to a divorced family easier you just need to reassure them constantly that they are loved and that they will always be taken care of.

Pre-Schoolers and Divorce

When your kids get to be pre-school age, or between three and four, then they have the cognitive ability to understand that getting a divorce will mean that their parents no longer will be living together. Their emotional development will also be at a higher level than a toddler, so they may "feel" the divorce more at this stage of development. To help them through your divorce, you will want to maintain routines, provide a common set of rules for them to follow at both your house and their other parent's house and you will want to make sure that they have the extra emotional support that they need. Letting their pre-school teacher know what is going on will also be helpful as they will be able to watch out for signs of distress and problems that may have developed as a result of the divorce.


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    • KidsNDivorce profile image

      KidsNDivorce 7 years ago

      Yeh, Ziggy was one of the best motivational speakers that I heard in the 70's and 80's. I wonder where he is now?

    • profile image

      Divorce Mom 7 years ago

      I just heard something interesting on the radio. The news story presented said that by smiling, even when you don't feel like it, your mood will automatically improve. This shows that Zigzlar was right.

    • KidsNDivorce profile image

      KidsNDivorce 7 years ago

      Yes, this is so important. You don't need to tell it all. Be selective in what you say according to the age of the child. And leave the anger or hurt out of your voice.

      "Fake it until you make it!" As Zigzlar always said.

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      Divorced Mom 7 years ago

      Also, you will want to format your answers so that they are age appropriate for your kids.

    • ScienceFairLady profile image

      ScienceFairLady 8 years ago

      Divorced Mon: That is great advice. Would like to add something. Answer the question with as little information as possible. Don't overload with too much detail.

    • profile image

      Divorced Mom 8 years ago

      If you don't know what information to give your kids about divorce then just focus on the questions that they are asking. This is the information that they need to know.

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      SmartDivorce 8 years ago

      Yes, it is important to keep your children in the loop. At the same time it is equally important that you give them age appropriate information.

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      Homeschooling Info 8 years ago

      I agree with Mom1976. It is important to keep your kids in the loop if you are going to get a divorce. The closer you are as a family unit the fewer problems your family will develop during and after the divorce process.

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      Mom1976 8 years ago

      Letting young kids know what is going on and what is going to happen is a great way to keep their anxiety about the changes from divorce in check. While it won't eliminate all of their anxiety, it will help immensely.