Parenting toddlers can be exhausting and frustrating, but also extremely rewarding. They seem to be learning new things every day. They’re beginning to comprehend more about the world around them and to explore it within the boundaries set by their parents and other caretakers.
If you’re the parent of a toddler and you and your spouse are divorcing, you both have to be conscientious about their needs. Talking to toddlers about divorce is certainly different than explaining it to older kids. They aren’t going to understand exactly what divorce means, but they’re going to know that their lives have changed. The routine they know is different. Their parents aren’t spending as much (or any) time together.
Don’t assume that you don’t have to talk to your toddler about what’s happening, but keep the conversation at a level they’ll understand. It’s best when both parents can sit down with the child. Explain that the two of you aren’t going to live together anymore, but you’ll both still be their parents and love them very much. It’s also essential to explain that the change has nothing to do with them or anything they did wrong. There are plenty of books written for toddlers that deal with divorce. Perhaps keep copies of them at both homes for bedtime reading.
As noted, your child has probably already noticed a change in their routine. A steady routine is comforting for young children. Therefore, it’s important to keep it as consistent as possible if the child is moving between two homes. Keep naptime, meals, bedtime and playtime the same. Make sure your toddler has their favorite stuffed animals and toys regardless of which home they’re in.
Your toddler will likely need even more affection, hugs, kisses and expressions of love from both parents now. These reassurances can help prevent behavioral issues that can arise from fear or lack of attention.
The custody agreement and parenting plan you work out for your toddler will likely need to change as your child gets older. However, you need to focus on what’s in your little one’s best interests right now. Your Florida family law attorney can guide you through this process and help you work to seek the custody arrangement that you believe is best for your child.