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Blending Your StepFamily: Helping Your Toddler Through Your Divorce

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Babies begin to learn from the ages of 6 – 8 months that they are a separate being from their parents and others.  Before now, baby probably could be passed around from one person to the next without any fuss.  But as he is learning to distinguish between himself and others, he may develop stranger anxiety.  So before you leave baby with someone new, make sure he feels comfortable and secure.  Babies of separation and divorce seem to have a harder time of accepting the transition of going to new people so be aware of your child’s emotional need and remain with them and the new face until baby feels secure.

Image: MyBaba.com

Image: MyBaba.com

Attachments are very important during this time.   Infants can distinguish between their parents and other caregivers.  They are aware when a parent leaves and can become increasingly fearful of separation from their parent.  Even if the child does not notice when you leave the room, they will eventually notice you aren’t there.  He may develop a fear of strangers and could have some nightmares.

Transitioning from one parent to the other may become a difficult time as well.  The child may become clingy to one parent or the other and may become irritable.

There are some things to be done to help your child to transition from one home to the other and feel secure:

  • Though both homes will not be the same nor be run the same, try to maintain your child’s routines in both homes.  Meal times should be the same time in both homes, naptime should be the same time, playing and bedtime should be the same times.  If you cannot ask your ex to keep the baby on the same schedule, please write it down so she or he will know the usual routine for baby.
  • Keep familiar things with the child.  Let her take her favorite blanky, bottle, stuffed animal or toy.  Whatever things will make the transition easier for baby, take them but make sure you get them back.  Taking some familiar things between the two homes will bring comfort to your child.
  • You may want to shorten the time baby is gone from the primary caregiver to about four hours until she is older.  The goal is to develop security and trust in your child and being with a loving caregiver consistently can grow security and trust in your baby.
  • Both parents should take the time to write in a notebook baby’s progress and any concerns about how she is doing.  This will help in the present but will also be a reference to check back on.
  • Sing lullabies to your baby and cuddle often.  You are very important to your child and their development.  If you are too busy to just be with your baby and play and cuddle, consider some lesser important things that you can remove from your life.  Those lesser things are a distraction of what’s really important and that is the wellbeing of your baby.  Illicit help from other’s if need be.  Hire a tween to do your housework and laundry.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says:

“We live by faith and not by sight”

Image: iStockphoto

Image: iStockphoto

We are helping our babies now by faith so that they will have a good start to life and develop healthily.  I want to encourage you as you care for your little one.  You are making a huge difference and caring for him or her is the most important thing you can be doing at this time in your life.  So relax and enjoy your child and keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.

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Blending Your StepFamily: How Divorce Uniquely Impacts Teenagers It’s so important to be aware of how divorce effects children differently when a family is in the turmoil of a separation or divorce, in order to help your child cope in ways that are most benefic...
Blending Your StepFamily: How Divorce Affects Your Baby Studies have shown that divorce does affect children.  But as parents, we want to minimize the bad affects of our divorce for our kids.  We are going to take a look at the different developmental ...
Blending Your StepFamily: Friends With Your Ex-Spouse? I met a lovely young woman this past weekend who we shall call "Monique".  She is divorced with a young daughter.  Her husband left her two years ago for another woman.  He moved out of their home t...


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