Children of Divorce: Preparing for Changes

Divorce and separation is difficult for children. Everything they know to be true about the world can change in an instant. They no longer get to see both their parents at the same time. They may have to move to a new home or meet new caretakers. In some instances children have to spend more time away from one of their parents than they ever have before. 

Topic: Transitioning To and From Houses

Because routine is so important to kids, this break in their routine often brings up strong and difficult emotions. Children might become overwhelmed when they have to transition from one home to the other. They may even refuse to go to the new home or become flooded with emotions, have more outbursts or be defiant on transition days. To help prepare your child(ren) for this day, I suggest reading a book like Two Hug Day.

Two-Hug Day

This book is written for 0-6year olds and can be found for free online. It was created by the makers of Sesame Street as part of their “Sesame Street In Communities” initiative. The book is hosted on their “Dealing with Divorce” page. What I love about this book is it’s heartfelt way of viewing the transition day 

from one house to the other. The authors give it an affectionate label, “Two-Hug Day”, a day when children of divorce get to hug both parents. The one whose home they are leaving and the one whose home they are going to. The other great thing about this book is that in reading it, you and your child(ren) can come up with some ideas to ease the struggle of switching between homes. Since it is part of the Sesame Street family, there are also endless resources available for free to be used alongside this terrific book. Read this book with your child(ren) often, as you begin to discuss divorce, especially in the time leading up to the first “Two-Hug Day” and those to follow.

Suggested activity: The Two-Hug Day Ritual

As you plan for the first “Two-Hug Day”, read this book with your child(ren) and create your own “Two-Hug Day” ritual. Make sure it is something that can be repeated every “Two-Hug Day”. This can be as simple as picking out a toy or stuffed animal that goes with them every time. It could also be more complex, including food, books, dancing or music. The book offers some suggestions as well. The key is to involve your kids. Extra points for making it fun and creative.

If your child is struggling to work through a recent divorce or separation, it is also important to know when to get help. You do not have to support them alone. Counseling can be a great way to help your child cope with big feelings that divorce and separation bring up. I am here to help. Contact Ellie Today!

Children of Divorce and Separation: Blame

When two parents decide to separate it can be earth-shattering for the kids involved. As a result, kids might feel angry, sad, lonely, or confused. As parents, it can be hard to help kids understand what is going on and why. One strategy I find helpful as a therapist is to use books to help young and elementary-aged children talk about the difficult topics surrounding divorce. 

Topic: It’s Not Your Fault

Many kids blame themselves for their parent’s divorce. As a result, they might feel more on edge and struggle to enjoy time with one or both parents. To tackle this misperception, consider reading a book like, “Was It The Chocolate Pudding?”

Was it the Chocolate Pudding?

Written for kids ages 3-7, this book can support or help you and your partner initiate conversations with your child(ren) about divorce. The young boy in this book thinks his parents divorced because of the mess he and his brother made with chocolate pudding. As he begins to understand his feelings and some of the changes that happened when his parents divorced, the reader is clued into words and emotions that come up when divorce happens. Another wonderful feature of this book is a “Note to Parents” from  Dr. Jane Annunziata, a psychotherapist specialized in supporting parents in divorce situations. In her note, she speaks about the emotions of small children when divorce happens including, Explaining Separation and Divorce to Children, Helping Your Child Cope, and On Healing and Recovery. 

Suggested activity: I Love you Snacks

After reading this book with your kids, make an “I love you snack” together. 

I Love You Chocolate Pudding Flower Cups 

1 package of instant pudding.

2 cups milk or milk alternative

1 cup cookie or graham cracker crumbs

4 flowers on stems or lollipops or other stemmed item

Green Sprinkles


  1. Make pudding according to instructions on box using the 2 cups
    of milk. 
  2. Divide pudding into 4 small dishes. 
  3. Layer each pot with additional ingredients in order. As you and your child(ren)add each new ingredient name how it adds love to your pudding flower cup. For example, you might say, “We are going to make an I Love You Pudding Cup Today. Each time we add a new ingredient, let’s name the love you need in your pudding cup today.” You might start the process by labeling the pudding itself as a big pudding hug. The crumbs might be kisses crumbs, the flower might be a playful flower and the sprinkles could be laughter sprinkles. 

Of course sometimes love looks a little different and it requires us to witness crashing crumbs, prickly flowers and sprinkles of tears, just so we can get them out in the open and talk about them. No matter what type of love goes into your flower pots, provide space for your kid(s) talk and ask any questions they have about your divorce/separation while you eat your yummy snack together. 

If your child is struggling to work through a recent divorce or separation, it is also important to know when to get help. You do not have to support them alone. Counseling can be a great way to help your child cope with big feelings that divorce and separation bring up. We are here to help. Contact Ellie Today!