Going through a divorce is difficult, emotional and stressful for the entire family. One of the first hurdles for a divorcing couple is telling their children about the upcoming divorce. Although this conversation is no doubt a difficult one, proper preparation can make the discussion go more smoothly.
Prior to having the conversation with your kids, sit down with your soon-to-be ex and figure out custody arrangements and other details. Wait to talk to your children until you both have worked out and agreed upon the parenting plan details. When the kids ask questions, which they will, you want to have answers. You need to be united and on the same page when you talk with your children in order to minimize their confusion and fear.
Young children will probably have simple questions about how their life will change. Focus your answers on how the divorce will impact the children's lives and not on the relationship between the two of you. Older kids will have more detailed questions, so be honest with them about the reasons behind the divorce without bad mouthing or going into unnecessary details. Be sure that they understand the divorce isn't their fault.
The most important thing you want to communicate to your kids is that, even though Mom and Dad are no longer in love with each other, they will never stop loving their kids. Tell them that you are there for them and that their feelings of fear, sadness and stress are completely normal and okay. Encourage them to talk about how they feel.
Warn them about the upcoming changes in their lives, but reassure them that not everything will change. Keep the kids' routines similar as much as possible. This will give them a sense of stability and comfort.
Finally, remember that your children's well being is more important than the problems between you and your ex. Work together to make the difficult process of divorce as smooth as possible for your children.