Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How to explain we're separating to a nearly 4 year old?

(10 Posts)
ButterBeanSoup Wed 14-Sep-16 13:39:22

My partner and I are separating. This is pretty amicable, and we will share contact 50:50. We have decided that it will be easier for me to move out of the family home.

Any advise on how to prepare DD who is nearly 4?

ImYourMama Wed 14-Sep-16 13:45:41

Use drawing? Two seperate houses, one with you and one with ex, make a big deal of 2 birthdays/Christmas etc and just reassure you both love her and you're still friends (even if you're not)

officebairn Wed 14-Sep-16 14:12:07

"Daddy is moving into a new house where you can go and stay with him on some nights. It's a really nice place and you'll have your own room and will love it there. You can still see me and stay here too, we'll be taking it in turns to spend time with you now. Does that sound ok?"

queenofbaddecisions Wed 14-Sep-16 15:32:14

There's a nice book about this called 'Two Homes'. My daughter was 3.5 when we separated and she really liked it and I used to hear her chatting to random people telling them 'I'm ....... and I've got 2 houses'!

ButterBeanSoup Wed 14-Sep-16 15:59:06

It's me that's moving out, which is probably why I'm struggling with it more

Mrswinkler Wed 14-Sep-16 17:28:41

If you are amicable and still happy to do things together as a family it will lessen the disruption she feels. Since splitting up we have managed after a while to spend quite a bit of time together so it's never always an either or situation which has helped.

Cary2012 Wed 14-Sep-16 18:00:35

I think at that age it's more about 'show' than 'tell".

Yes, explain that little one will have two homes, the picture idea above is great.

But little one needs to see that they are still loved as much by both of you, whether you parent together or not.

If they feel loved and secure in that love, you can do no wrong.

Cabrinha Wed 14-Sep-16 18:37:02

Mine was 4.5 but I also used the book mentioned - think it was called 'My Two Homes'. Simple picture book with different style bedrooms, different colour toothbrushes.

I sat down and told her with my now XH. Told her that we had realised we weren't each other's 'one true love' (she liked Disney at the time!) and that mummy had bought a house, and we'd live separately but that she would get to have both houses and both parents.

Didn't tell her until my purchase was complete and I'd painted her bedroom! It was her that said "oooooh - can I see it?!"

So we took her over together and let her spend the night, because she wanted to.

We didn't talk about days, or move out immediately. I told my XH in advance that we'd do the first month whatever way she asked - even if that meant getting to mine and both coming home. As it happened, she took to it quickly (think it helped that I worked away a bit, and she's also quite happy go lucky)

We also emphasised that she could ask to phone either of us any time.

ButterBeanSoup Wed 14-Sep-16 18:39:10

Thank you. This is all really helpful in a time of (as in sure you can imagine) turmoil.

godgivemestrengthagain Wed 14-Sep-16 19:11:07

Me and my exh did this. Both children 4&6 at the time.

We sat down together two months before I left and we read a book called two homes. We told them that mummy and daddy have decided to be just friends, not best friends anymore. it has worked well, we kept school, friends, clubs all the same to give the kids stability. It is now 2 years on and the kids are happy.

Good luck- it is difficult but for us it was for the best.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now