You and your spouse have been at odds about many things, but one thing that you’ve been able to agree on is the fact that your child needs to spend time with both of you. Your child is only five, and not having one of you in their life could be harmful to them.
Knowing this, you both want to sit down and talk to your child about what’s going to happen next, but how can you? At such a young age, you’re not sure where to start. There is some information that can help, however, so here are a few things to consider.
Age 5: What do kids really understand about divorce?
At the age of five, children are usually starting or enrolled in preschool. They are starting to become more independent, but they’re usually significantly dependent on their parents. Children at this age might have trouble thinking ahead to the future or understanding cause and effect.
Young children may have a hard time differentiating between reality and fantasy. They may be able to think about how they feel, but they could still have trouble expressing their emotions to you.
Talking to your child at this age can require a gentle repetition of key concepts. You may need to repeat yourself and give simple explanations so that they fully understand what’s happening. For example, you can express that they will live in two homes and see both parents. You can explain that you and their other parent will no longer live together.
Be prepared to answer questions and to help your child work through emotions they may not fully understand. This may take some time, but your child will adapt to divorce.