The topsy-turvy process of divorce takes its toll on even the most resilient of adults, so we can only imagine that little people struggle even more to deal with the changes that the end of a marriage brings. When you're three, it can be hard to process the emotional landscape of a playdate, so the peaks and valleys of divorce really challenge preschoolers' ability to understand and deal with uncertainty, anger, insecurity, sadness, and other big emotions.
There are some books written specifically for preschoolers about divorce, however. If you're trying to help a little one in your life cope, these stories just might help open up conversation and new understanding.
Dinosaurs Divorce, by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
This book by Arthur series author provides straightforward but optimistic answers to all the questions children naturally have about divorce. Why is this happening? Where will I live? What about Christmas? These and others are all covered with sensitivity and a positive attitude by the friendly dinosaurs. Geared towards children ages 4-8 years old.
Two Homes, by Claire Masurel
Alex is a preschooler whose parents are divorced, and he has two homes, each with a set of all the things he needs and likes. This book, geared toward children ages 2-5 years old, addresses all of the concrete issues on which children focus. It also makes the point that Alex is always loved by both parents, even if he is not with them at the same time.
It's Not Your Fault Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky
Children often wonder if a divorce is somehow their fault, and this book gives the simple and reassuring answer: it's not. Designed to be read by divorcing parents to their children, it not only tells the story of a little bear seeking reassurance, but give parents tips for addressing children's common concerns. Aimed at children ages 3 to 7 years old.
Was It the Chocolate Pudding?, by Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo
For kids who fall in the upper end of the preschool age range, this books simple definitions of "divorcespeak" are awesome. For instance, " 'Adjusting-to-our-new-arrangement' is what you do when you don't have an ideal situation and it's still okay." The main characters are two brothers living with a single father, so this one might also be a little more friendly to boys if bears and dinosaurs don't seem a good fit.
This pair of books written by a family therapist is a more comprehensive self-help set for coping with divorce. Parents looking for a guide will find expert and practical advice for putting the needs of the children at the center of a collaborative divorce. The accompanying kids' guide is over 200 pages and therefore not meant to be read cover-to-cover for little ones, but relevant sections can be reviewed and paraphrased depending on a child's needs.
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