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Family Article: Divorce in the Family
Lesson Plan: Family Portraits

Change is normal. However, change in any form can take some getting used to. For young children, change in family living arrangements can be particularly difficult because the home and its occupants represent the basis for their sense of security.

Gather photographs of all family members—parents, grandparents, siblings, and even the family pet. If there isn’t a picture of someone, the child can draw it. Help your child understand that family is family, whether or not family members all live under one roof. Then have your child tell stories about his or her favorite things to do with each family member. Have your child put the photographs together to create a family portrait and help write captions underneath each photo to describe a special quality of each family member.

Selected Reading List About Divorce

Understanding that other families have also gone through divorce will help your child learn to cope with family changes. The list of books below may help your child adjust more quickly to a divorce in the family. The books can help you answer your child’s questions and decrease his or her fears and anxieties. Your neighborhood or school librarian might also be able to choose books best suited for your family.

3- to 6-year-olds

  • It’s Not Your Fault, KoKo Bear, by Vickie Lansky, illustrated by Jane Prince
    MaMa and PaPa Bear walk their child, KoKo, through the logistics of getting divorced.
  • Was It the Chocolate Pudding? A Story for Little Kids About Divorce, by Sandra Levins, illustrated by Brian Langdo
    A boy believes his parents are getting a divorce because he fed chocolate pudding to his younger brother very early one morning.
  • Two Homes, by Claire Masurel, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
    One home with mom, one home with dad, and loved in both.

5- to 6-year-olds

  • Boundless Grace, by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Caroline Binch
    Grace, who lives in New York City with her mother and grandmother, thinks she has no father. Her parents split up when she was very young, and her father returned to his country, The Gambia, Africa.
  • Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families, by Marc and Laurie Krasny Brown
    Information for children about divorce encourages them to express their feelings.
  • Why Are We Getting a Divorce?, by Peter Mayle, illustrated by Arthur Robins
    Parents fall in love, then fall out of love with each other but not with the kids.
  • Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Betty Boegehold, illustrated by Deborah Bargo
    A young child has a difficult time when her parents divorce. She withdraws, fakes illness, and looks for comfort.
  • My Mother's House, My Father's House, by C. B. Christiansen and Irene Trivas
    Main character learns to deal with joint custody.
  • My Family’s Changing, by Pat Thomas
    Coping with a divorce told from a child’s point of view.
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Updated on 4/5/2013