If you’re divorcing with a toddler, you may have friends and family telling you how “lucky” you are that you don’t have to deal with all the questions that kids even a little bit older ask and the problems they experience when their parents break up.
Just because toddlers don’t have the language skills they need to adequately express their questions and fears, that doesn’t mean they don’t need their parents to explain in ways they can understand what will be happening and make sure they feel safe and secure no matter where they are and whom they’re with.
What your child likely cares about
Kids this young live in a very self-centered world. They want to know where they will sleep, if they’ll have their favorite toys and games and whether they’ll still get to see their favorite babysitter, their grandparents and their friends. They want to know that both parents will still take care of them.
Whether you’re both moving to new homes or just one of you is moving, make sure your child has familiar or duplicate things with them in both places and that you keep their routine as consistent as possible. If you’re sharing custody, you may need to plan for your child to transition every couple of days unless they’re comfortable being away from one parent for longer. Many young children aren’t.
Communication and modifications to the parenting arrangement are key
Your child will be doing a lot of growing and maturing in the upcoming years. You and your co-parent are each going to miss some “firsts.” It’s wise to have a plan for sharing those – even if it’s through a shared online journal where you don’t have to directly communicate. You’ll also need to be prepared to modify your custody agreement and parenting plan to meet your child’s needs. Having legal guidance throughout the process can help you better co-parent your child as they grow up.