Are you wondering how to talk to your child about living in two homes? Is your child struggling to adjust to living in two homes or getting asked awkward questions from friends?
Then “I Am Living In Two Homes” by Garvelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones, illustrated by James C. Webster is a great resource for you. The Kindle edition is available now and the print edition will be available in mid-August. It’s a delightful, beautifully illustrated children’s picture book for elementary school-aged kids.
The story features twins, Nia and Jay. Nia talks about what it’s like being at her mom’s house and what her mom loves to do. She then opens up about the awkward questions she gets asked at school and how they make her feel. Jay talks about being at dad’s house, all the fun things that happen there and then the worries that keep him awake at night.
Even though the story line is simple, there’s complexity behind it. It reinforces that it’s OK to have fun and to enjoy being at both parents’ homes, that the reason for living in two homes is not the fault of the child’s and that all the emotions they’re feeling are normal and not bad. It also conveys that there are likely different benefits to each parent and that each parent is different, they’re not going to do things the same way and that’s OK too.
There’s a message here for parents too – children will understand when things go wrong, when the right clothes are in the wrong place or there’s a mix up with times. it’s a transition, an adjustment and if you can be honest with your children without looking to place blame, you’ll find them forgiving and understanding. It also reinforces that children aren’t looking to be compensated with material belongings or expensive outings but rather need your love and undivided attention.
What I particularly like about this book is that it includes a parent’s discussion guide with six suggested topics for having conversations with your child. These conversations will help you and your child take the story and translate it to their own situation. It’ll also give you the opportunity to role-play conversations your child may need to have with their friends. I’ve found this is a simple technique that is often overlooked. If you can talk to your child about a situation and then act out a pretend conversation including the “what if he says this?” or “what if she does this?” your child will be so much more prepared to handle it and to handle it with confidence.