A practical storybook guide written by a child psychologist to help parents address questions in light of a separation or divorce. Children often feel like they are to blame or play some role in the changing dynamics of their family. This highly-recommended book encourages dialogue with children about why families change and how they will fit into a new, healthier family unit.
Picture Books for Kids to Cope With Divorce
The heartache associated with a family divided is all the more difficult when children are involved. Most kids are emotionally complex beings who do not yet have the maturity to express their feelings. When parents make the decision that separation is necessary, it's important to think about all the ways their children can be supported through this process. A good starting point is to gather together some good children's books about divorce. Finding a one-size-fits-all book is difficult, so it's better to collect a wide variety of titles. Look for some fictional stories that will resonate with your child, and then add some non-fictional guides to supplement their reading. You can scroll through this list to find the books that will help children of all ages cope with the challenges of a family splitting apart, and then later find children's stories about stepfamilies when yet another adjustment in the family structure happens.
This book covers some of the most common questions that arise. Using colorful illustrations and easy-to-understand text, even the youngest of readers will relate to the dinosaur family. The wide range of topics addressed include living with just one parent, splitting holidays, adjusting to stepparents, talking to friends, and a myriad of other issues.
This book focuses on sensitivity of children who witness parents fighting. A young child is confused by her parents' inability to get along when they used to be a tight-knit family. The emphasis in this story is that both parents love the child unconditionally, and that will never change. The story assures children that they are not at fault and helps to ease anxiety.
My Family's Changing
The author of this book is a psychotherapist and counselor who has a lot of experience working with children and families. A very helpful tool that appears throughout this book is a What About You sidebar. As the story addresses all of the worries, fears, and anxieties a child is facing, there is an opportunity to stop and engage in active, meaningful discussion with your child. Kids have a chance to assess their own response alongside the experiences of the child in the book.
If you are looking for a reassuring picture book that provides an uplifting view, Two Homes may be just the one. A little boy named Alex has two special bedrooms each with their own unique furniture and personal touches. He has friends at each home to play with, and even more importantly, he is loved equally in both places.
A gentle, reassuring book about a child named Addison who finds courage as his parents go through a split. He understands that his parents love him just the same and that having two homes isn't so bad after all. Addison learns resilience and strength by standing on his own two feet.
Like many young children, the little girl in this story does not want to talk about her parents' separation. She has a wide range of emotions that she is not willing or able to discuss with her family. Instead, she prefers to roar like a lion and block out everything. Kids will relate to how she is feeling and may feel encouraged to open up after reading this book.
Ivan's parents recently separated and he's having a hard time adjusting. Going back and forth between two homes is taking a toll on his spirit. As a boy who loves music, he eventually learns to find happiness singing and dancing at both places.
While this amazing book does not address the topic of divorce directly, it is highly recommended for children who are going through the trauma of families splitting apart. The invisible string is a connection between children and their loved ones, even when they can't be together. The string is made of love, and even though you can't see it, you can feel it in your heart always.
A highly recommended book that serves as both a story for the child and a how-to guide for parents trying to navigate a difficult separation. Koko Bear doesn't want his home life to change and is not happy about having two different bedrooms. His parents offer him reassurance that their love for him hasn't changed and that the divorce has nothing to do with him. Helpful tips at the bottom of each page provide guidance for parents on answering hard questions and explaining the situation in gentle, comforting terms.
This is a lengthy picture boo geared toward more mature kids who are prepared to process lots of information. Children are provided plenty of reassurance that they are not at fault, and that the problem resides with the parents. Concepts like "single parent homes", "joint custody", and other divorce-related matters are covered.
Drew and his pet dragon provide emotional support for their friend whose parents are getting a divorce. A very gentle, comforting story that hits all the right notes by showing a child that he is loved as much as ever before. This cartoonish story also drives home the importance of leaning on your friends in times of distress.
It's incredibly important for children to experience stability and continuity in light of a family splitting apart. In this story, a little girl shuffles between her parents' homes, but her loyal companion is always by her side. Fred provides her with comfort during a tumultuous period in her life.
A unique book that doesn't sugarcoat the situation and the emotional impact on the children involved. All feelings are validated and represented through visually interesting artwork that captures the wide range of emotions. It's a heartfelt work that does more showing than telling.
One of the most disruptive aspects for a child is the constant shuffling between two homes. A little boy moves back and forth from his mother's apartment to his father's house, but fortunately his loyal dog is by his side at all times. This book does not paint a rosy picture of the situation, but rather is a more raw account of the tug-of-war a child can feel when adjusting to this disruption.
A wonderfully reassuring book for kids whose parents are separating. No matter what is happening between mom and dad, they will always love their child unconditionally. Living in two separate homes can be difficult and lead to feelings of instability. This heartwarming book provides reassurance for children that, despite all of the other changes, the one constant is their parents' love for them.
An upbeat, lift-the-flap book that provides reassurance for children who will be splitting time between two homes. In this story, the child has two different bedrooms that look a little different, however, she brings her favorite toys with her wherever shes goes. And most importantly, both her mom and her dad love her unconditionally. This is the constant that provides comfort and security. A gentle, easy-to-understand book perfect for preschoolers.
It is not uncommon for children to think that a divorce is somehow their fault. Many kids also hope they can change the outcome by altering their own behavior. In this story, Rosie does her very best to be the perfect daughter. She cleans the house, gets good grades, and even empties her piggy bank to help with household expenses. But not matter how cheerful and helpful, Rosie is unable to prevent her parents from separating. When she joins a support group at school, the other kids who also come from divided homes help Rosie understand that it is not her fault.
One of the biggest adjustments for young children is the transition between homes. In this story, a little girl struggles with the constant back-and-forth. When she is at her mother's house, she misses her father, and vice versa. There are certain things that she misses, like her pet or her bike, that she can't always take with her. However, she always carries her special backpack no matter where she goes. This gentle story, with soft watercolor illustrations, captures the emotional turmoil of a child who splits her time with her mother and father. There are some helpful blank pages at the end where kids are encouraged to write down their own feelings.
Otis had no idea that his parents were not getting along. In fact, he considered life at home to be nearly perfect. All of that changed one day when his parents sat him down to talk. They told him they were getting a D (a word so difficult that Otis refuses to say it out loud). Fortunately, he has a grandmother who helps him understand why. He also learns the three Cs: He didn't Cause it. He can't Control it. He has to Cope with it. This book provides lots of helpful guidance for kids learning how to adjust to their new normal.
The use of young saplings symbolizing the children of parents who live separately is a gentle way to address this difficult subject. Curently living among a family of trees, the sapling babies learn that they will be loved no matter where they reside in the forest, even if it requires moving somewhere else. Although initially anxious, the young trees grow to understand they will be loved, nurtured, and supported no matter how their family changes.
This story about separation is geared toward preschool and kindergarten children. Using an upbeat tone, accessible text explains the reasons why parents are separating. Little ones are reassured that no matter what happens, both parents will continues to love them just the same. Using cartoonish stick figures, the author/illustrator adds a bit of humor to a difficult topic.
A little boy is determined to find a way to fix his broken parents. After putting some thought into a solution, he thinks that maybe glue will stick his family together again. He is also hopeful that he can glue smiles back on their faces so they can be happy once again. While the boy learns the hard way that a sticky substance is not the remedy, he comes to understand that his parents will always love him. Rhyming verse and whimsical illustrations add an upbeat tone to this difficult topic.
This fantastic book will open up a conversation between parents and children about divorce. There are prompts on one page followed by a few simple, easy-to-understand responses and explanations. The questions and answers provided do not sugarcoat or dance around the topic. The author has designed this guide to encourage real, raw discussions which will ultimately help in the healing process.
A tender book based on the perspective of a little girl, Nina. She explains in a very matter-of-fact way that her house became too small for both of her parents to live there. So one day her mother rides off on a bicycle with all of her belongings and moves into a new home. Both houses are portrayed as vibrant, happy places for Nina to share with each of her parents. A highly relatable, accessible story for youngsters adapting to two homes.
A realistic look at a little girl's experience splitting Jewish holidays at her mother's and her father's house. The very first Passover her parents are not together anymore, she compares the seder at each home and feels sad that everyone can't be together. As the years progress, the girl grows to accept and enjoy the different circumstances at each home. Although the food is a little bit different and the company around the table changes, she appreciates all the new traditions.
Lou Caribou is a darling little reindeer who is loved tremendously by both his mom and dad. Since his parents live at opposite sides of the forest, Lou takes a fun bus ride to travel between their homes. He has a routine that involves packing a suitcase with his favorite things to take on visits with his dad. He spends weekends with his father riding bikes and swimming. And then when it's time to go back to his mom's house, he boards the bus and returns to her loving embrace.
This comprehensive book covers a wide range of questions and answers to some really difficult situations. Many scenarios take place in the classroom where kids share their own experiences. There is a tremendous amount of information to help kids navigate their parents' divorce. Most important of all, readers will understand that they are not at fault.
A poetic story about Rosalie, a girl who is stuck between parents who are constantly fighting. She learns how to cope with moving between two homes. And, most importantly, understands that both her mom and dad love her no matter how much discord is between them. Intriguing artwork portrays the struggle of a child caught in the middle.
How Reading Stories About Divorce Helps
Helping a child cope with divorce requires a commitment from the parents to give them the skills, support, and space to work through their emotions. Reading is the easiest place to start the healing process for all the reasons below. Sometimes kids aren't able or willing to talk about how they are feeling. Changes in behavior, performance at school, or interest in social activities may be a good indication that children are struggling. The range and depth of emotions- loneliness, sadness, anger, guilt- can be debilitating and isolating. To help a child on his or her journey to heal, we have gathered together the best stories to read together.
- It can be easier to talk about a fictional character in a book than it is to talk about your own feelings. A child may not have the emotional maturity to express everything he or she is feeling about a situation that is incredibly painful. However, discussing a story may be less difficult and eventually open up the door for a more personal.
- Reading books gives kids the vocabulary to express their emotions. Young children are often in the middle of a complex situation that can be emotionally overwhelming. Little kids may have a hard time finding the words to communicate what they are feeling inside, which can lead them to act out in undesirable ways. Reading to your child helps develop their verbal skills and enhances their ability to talk about emotions.
- Children's books about divorce offer inexpensive therapeutic value. For just a few dollars, the same book can be read over and over again. Children can revisit important lessons and stories that helped them understand the situation a little better. You should make sure to buy a diverse selection of titles, and even consider divorce novels for tweens that cover more advanced material suited for older readers. Balance out the reading material so that some books present a upbeat, positive outlook while others address the hard, ugly parts. Both types of reading material add value and will prove helpful.
- It's important for kids to know they are not alone. When a child witnesses other families who are happily intact, an already painful divorce can feel even worse. Visiting with friends who have both parents at home can feel like salt in an open wound. Children can often experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, jealousy and despair. Reading will help alleviate some of these feelings.
- Authors who are family therapists and counselors provide tools and techniques to handle the difficult moments. Find some good divorce workbooks and journals that are age appropriate. These books are usually written by therapists and psychologists who are experts on divorce. When your child is feeling particularly sad, provide them with guides to work through some of these difficult emotions.
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