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Savvy Parenting

Tips and Tools to Minimize the Effects of Separation on Children

As parents, the effects of a relationship separation on your children, is often a major concern when making the decision to end a relationship. However, if it has reached the situation where separation is the best option for your family, your main focus should be on minimising the impact it has on the children. 

These tips can help you to support your children as much as possible during the separation process:

Keep a routine

Routine is very important, especially for younger children and even though there will be unavoidable disruption at first, developing a routine as quickly as possible will help them to handle the transition. This means trying to stick to the same days for staying at parent’s houses, for example. The best option for children is to stay living in the same place and going to the same school, so if this can be done it will be a big help in coping with the other changes.

Try to stay on good terms

For many couples, staying on good terms is not easy, especially at first but if you cannot stay on good terms with each other, try to at least be amicable in front of the children and do not blame or badmouth the other parent in front of them. The more conflict they are made aware of, the more disruptive it is likely to be for them emotionally. 

Announce the separation together

The best approach to telling your children that you are separating is to share the news together as a family, explaining what will happen next. Be honest about the reasons but without going into details that they do not need to know that could upset them. 

It is really important to tell your children that both parents still love them very much and that they have not done anything wrong. Many children worry that they were to blame for the relationship breakdown of their parents. Ask them if they have any questions about the separation and tell them they can ask questions at any time, as they may have some questions once they have processed the news.

It is a good idea to talk to your ex-partner to try and think about questions the children may have and what answers you will jointly provide, such as living arrangements and how often they will see the parent that is moving out, if that is what is happening.

Spend quality time with your children 

It is essential that you spend as much quality time with children as possible, so you can see how they are coping and do activities together that they will find enjoyable and take their mind off any worries they have. 

Don’t let extended family relationships suffer

Seeing grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and close family friends that they would usually have in their life is very important, so try to make sure these relationships are not affected by the separation. Your children need to be around all of the people that love and care about them to have a strong support network, both now and throughout their lives. 

When parents separate, it can be a very confusing and upsetting time for children, so it is important to try and make the transition as smooth and amicable as possible. Having open conversations with your children so that they have plenty of opportunities to talk about their feelings is vital, as is keeping to routine wherever possible. These tips should help you to support your children through the disrupting process of your separation.

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