Toddlers are small, and they often seem like they don't remember things from day to day. They may not seem as observant as they truly are, which is one of the reasons why some parents don't think it's important to explain a divorce to them.
The reality is that toddlers do feel the strain of changes in your relationship, but perhaps not in the way you do. They know when they have changes to their routines and when there is animosity in the air.
What can you do to help your child understand divorce?
It's always a good idea to talk to your child about divorce, even if it has to be very simple. For a child of 3 to 5, it would be wise to sit down with your spouse and nicely explain that mom and dad don't want to live together anymore. Say what will happen when you move to another home and what your child can expect in easy-to-understand terms.
You should give your child time to express themselves after you explain what will happen. This may come with tears, anger or other forms of outbursts. Keep in mind that young children have not yet developed the ways they can handle their emotions and may say or do things that adults would not. In a worst-case scenario, you could consider working with a professional if your child does not seem to be adjusting to the changes of the divorce. Working well with your child and spouse can help your divorce go smoother as you work through custody and property division issues.