As a mum of a pre-schooler I’ve noticed how much easier it is to explain a situation to my questioning little one if the characters in a television programme or in a book have ‘been there and done it first’. Cbeebies’ ‘Wooly and Tig’ has been a constant blessing with helping with hairwashes, loud noises and sharing and my old ‘Topsy and Tim’ books from the 1970s (although not now politically correct!) have helped too.
Books help children learn, understand and empathise.
However, most of these programmes and books show Mum and Dad at home with the children and many families are very different. If I find books with a ‘non-molecular’ family within my literal journey through children’s fiction with my toddler I will blog them. In the meantime I have sought out a number of titles aimed at children with a reasonably fresh separation of their parents to assist other parents find something to help them answer the ‘whys’ and also to empathise with their own children.
By no means is this an exhaustive list and, if you know a good one, please let me know.
A good friend who recently divorced with a child the same age as mine has ‘tried and tested’ the books designed for the youngest audiences and I include some of her comments. The majority of these books I obtained completely free from Essex Libraries https://www.essex.gov.uk/Libraries-Archives/libraries/Reserve-renew-return-items/Pages/Default.aspx .
TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS
Mum and Dad Glue – by Kes Gray: A picture book in which the child tries to find a pot of ‘parent glue’ to stick his parents back together.
A lovely little book to use as an ‘opener’ to start a conversation about a separation. It importantly includes that both parents will always love the child forever. Very touching and bit of a tear jerker. (Divorcing mum’s marking 8/10)
Two Homes – by Claire Masurel: A picture book about Alex’s two bedrooms, two favourite chairs and two homes.
Wonderfully simple, nice illustrations and comments from my divorced friend were that it was a great way to help her son talk about what he had at Daddy’s house. Her toddler kept asking to read this one again and she chose to buy a copy for him. (Divorcing mum’s marking 10/10)
I still love you, Dad – by Ann de Bode: A picture book about Mum’s new partner.
Sensitively written from a child’s perspective about mum’s new partner not replacing dad but still being a friend. Most suitable for 4 upwards. (Divorcing mum’s marking 7/10)
Living with Mum and Living with Dad – by Melanie Walsh: Lift the flaps picture book
Lovely book for toddlers, nice illustrations and all toddlers like to ‘lift the flaps’. Nice way of broaching the change in routine and my friend said she felt it worked well alongside ‘Two Homes’. (Divorcing mum’s marking 9/10)