As if dealing with a divorce isn’t already hard enough, you can’t focus on anything but your preschooler. What will they say? How will they feel? What can you do? We’re here to help you find the answers to those questions, so you can help your preschooler adjust to your divorce.
HAVE OPEN COMMUNICATION
Your preschooler may have quite a bit of confusion coming their way, and will need some extra comfort. Having open communication with your child is important in helping them prepare for change.
Prepare for Questions
Your preschooler may not know what to say, or may be full of questions. You should prepare for the latter. Here are some things your preschooler may want to know.
- Where they will be living
- If they will still go to their school
- If they can still see their friends
- If both parents will still live together
- Why you are divorcing
- If you still love them
- If it’s their fault
Those last two questions are where the reassuring really comes in. Young children tend to think that things like this are their fault, even if they don’t say so. One of the best things you can do for your preschooler is make sure they know that nothing is their fault, you both still love them very much, and nothing will ever change that.
Be as honest as you can be, while giving age appropriate information. If your child will have to go to a new school, let them know and start helping them adjust to the idea. Your preschooler doesn’t need anything else thrown at them right now, so try to keep them in the loop as much as possible.
STICK TO ROUTINES
Routine is extremely important in your preschoolers development, and right now is a crucial time to stick to as many as possible. Understandably, some things are going to change. This brings us back to having open communication. Talk to your preschooler about any routines that will have to change.
Your preschooler may be going through a change of home, school, friends, and regular life… so keep making those Saturday morning pancakes, reading that favorite book, singing that night time song, and whatever other normalcy you can keep in your preschooler’s life.
KEEP CONFLICT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Seeing some healthy conflict, and resolution can be good for your preschooler… but seeing the wrong kind of conflict can be damaging. Try to keep your interactions as healthy as possible in front of your preschooler. If your interactions are leading to screaming, throwing things, or any other unhealthy behaviors, it may be best to minimize in person interactions as much as possible until things settle down.
If necessary, stick to only phone calls about your preschooler, and agree on a family member to delegate the pick ups and drop offs of your preschooler between you. It will be easier on everyone to get through this when conflict can be eliminated.
SEEK OUTSIDE HELP
This can be an overwhelming time for you as well. Even if part of you is jumping for joy about your new found freedom, you know you have your preschooler to think about. Dealing with everything that’s changing for you right now, and trying to help your preschooler adjust is too much for you to handle alone.
Talk to somebody…even a friend or family member. Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help if you need it. A therapist can help you deal with your emotions, and help you with your concerns about your preschooler.
Being able to vent to someone will help you be your best self when you’re around your preschooler. It’s important not to use your preschooler as a crutch…they need you to be theirs, in order to adjust to this new life.