How to tell a young child about a parent who is going away

From ArticleWorld

To Tell a Young Child About a Parent Who is Going Away may involve heartache and tears for both the child and the adult. There may be many aspects to the subject of the absent parent. There are temporary separations, non-custodial parents are absent most or all of the time, parents who are in the defense or other services and must leave their children for their work, and there are other parents who just do not bother trying to see their children. For all of the above, you need tact and patience to break the news to a toddler or a young child. Here are some ideas.

A few suggestions

  1. Let the child know that the parent is leaving, telling lies to cover up later makes thing worse because children can usually gauge when the issue is being avoided.
  2. If the child is a toddler, tell him/ her that the parent will be back later in the day. It is easier for them to cope with just one day.
  3. Let the child see the parent leaving. There may be a few tears then, but it stops the child fretting for the whole day.
  4. At the end of the day, the child might ask about the parent again, tell him/ her that the plane or the car or the train by which they were traveling is late.


  • Remember, children have a short attention span and they would soon become busy with other things if you can successfully satisfy them for the moment.
  • Distract them with things and toys that they like when they become too persistent.


  • Don’t lose patience and scold the child, he/ she might get scared which, on top of an absent parent, may play havoc with their psyche.