Generally speaking, you never want to mention divorce to your children until it’s a guarantee. Don’t bring it up as a possible outcome or talk to them about how you and your spouse are mulling it over. This just makes children feel stressed and uncertain. They shouldn’t find out that your marriage is going to end until there is no doubt that it will.
That said, you do have to tell them eventually. How should you do it?
Pick the right time
To start, pick the proper time. Ideally, you’ll have nearly unlimited free time for the conversation. For instance, bringing it up on a Saturday afternoon is probably better than starting the conversation a half hour before they leave for school. You don’t want any extra pressure and you want to take the time to talk for as long as they need. It’s different for everyone.
Talk to all of the children at once
When you do bring it up, you want all of your kids to be present. It may feel easier to have these conversations one at a time, but that opens up a lot of negative possibilities. What if your youngest finds out from your oldest before you get to them? You want all of the children on the same page. You can always have one-on-one conversations later, if you think that would help them.
Focus on answering questions
The big goal here is not to explain the divorce or talk about the technical process, but just to answer the questions your children have. Where will they live? When will the divorce be over? Who will care for them? Are they going to have to move away from friends or school? It is very reassuring for them to get answers to their questions quickly.
Moving onward with the divorce
These tips can help, and you want to keep this same child-focused approach throughout the divorce. Be sure you know what legal steps to take as you do so.