Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Cope with Divorce


Watching their parents go through a Pasadena divorce can be especially hard on toddlers and preschoolers. Toddlers and preschoolers are still in the stage of their development where they think the world revolves around them, so your child will automatically view your breakup as something that he or she helped to cause. Your first priority during the divorce should be to reassure your child that he or she did nothing wrong.

Reading age appropriate books with your child can help him or her understand that you'll still be a family even though mom and dad won't be living together anymore. Avoid badmouthing your ex to your child at all costs. Toddlers and preschoolers are especially likely to consider criticism of one parent as a personal attack.

You can make visitation easier for your child by sticking to a well defined schedule and a stable routine. Create a special place for the child in the noncustodial parent's home so he or she feels safe and welcome. If the child has a favorite toy or a security blanket, make sure he or she is allowed to bring this object on visitation. If the child gets homesick, a quick call to the custodial parent can provide some much needed reassurance.

Toddlers and preschoolers who are having a hard time coping with the divorce might start to regress developmentally. This might mean that a child starts waking up more in the middle of the night, having tantrums, talking in baby talk, or experiencing separation anxiety. If you are concerned about your child's behavior, meeting a child psychologist might be helpful. Psychologists often use play therapy to get young children to express their emotions in a more constructive fashion.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm is staffed with experienced attorneys who are eager to advocate for the needs of both you and your child throughout the process.