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Helping toddlers adjust to their parents' divorce

Parents of toddlers often try to keep things consistent because children this age need stability in order to function. If you learn that you're going to be divorcing and have children who are toddlers or younger at home, things are going to be rather challenging. It is up to you and your ex to try to provide them with a new normal way of life quickly so they can thrive.

Children in this age group often feed off their parents' emotions. Be careful with the way that you respond to stress and contentious matters. While you might not be able to do away with all these emotions, you can let them see you find appropriate ways to work through them.

You're going to have to try to explain to the children what's going on. They might not fully grasp it, so you might spend a good part of your time in the upcoming weeks answering questions about when the other parent is coming home. Try to be patient because the kids are just having trouble with understanding the permanence of the situation.

Reassuring the children that both parents still love them and want to be a part of their life is also important. As soon as possible, introduce them to both homes so they know where they will stay when they are with each parent.

During the transition period, the child might show some strong emotions. Help them work through these in an age-appropriate manner. When inappropriate behaviors creep up, address them immediately and help the child to learn better options.

You should try to get the parenting plan set up quickly. This provides the stability that children this age need, and getting this done quickly reduces the number of major adjustments the child has to handle.

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