How to tell your your kids you’re divorcing

If you are going through a separation or divorce and have children, it’s important to have a plan in place so that you can discuss this with them in an age-appropriate and emotionally intelligent way to minimise trauma for them.

We recommend explaining your separation / divorce to children jointly in a simple straightforward way while being open and honest. Remember that children don’t need to know all the details of your divorce. It is important to reassure them that they are loved and explain to them how the separation will work for everyone in the family.

We have included some ways here on how you can do help your children through the divorce process:

  • Offer support, encouragement and reassurance
  • Be patient and understanding. Allow children to talk about their feelings and show their emotions
  • Suggest someone else to talk to and encourage them to communicate.
  • Minimise the disruptions to the children’s daily routines
  • Keep each parent involved in the children’s lives
  • Don’t speak negatively about the other parent to your children, extended family or friends
  • Keep visible conflict, heated conversations and legal talk away from the children
  • Create two comfortable homes making sure each home contains some familiar items to help them feel secure and at home in both places
  • Look out for behavioural changes, such as sadness, anxiety, moodiness, difficulties at school, with friends or loss of sleep as this could be a sign of problems

Be prepared to answer these and other questions from your child:

  • Who will I live with?
  • Where will I go to school?
  • Will I have to move?
  • Where will each parent live?
  • Who will we spend holidays with?
  • Will I still get to see my friends?
  • Will I still go to my afterschool activities?
  • Most importantly through it all, make it clear the child feels loved

We strongly recommend having a personalised plan in place to help you to talk to your children. For further information on how to develop your plan please download our FREE worksheet resource that you can find here. This information can be found in our book ‘Breaking Up Without Breaking Down’.


If you need to speak with someone, please contact our office as we have psychologists and child psychologists who are here to help you and your children.