When divorcing with young children, most parents will ask "how do I protect my children during our divorce?" Divorce is hard on kids but parents can ease the transition and help them through by taking a few simple steps.
As a divorce attorney in Bucks and Montgomery County, PA, I have helped thousands of couples with children through their divorce. The best gift you can give to your children as they go through your divorce is peace with your ex. I realize this can be very difficult, especially when emotions are still a bit raw. But children find great comfort in knowing you are still going to work together to raise them. Continuing to fight and have a contentious relationship with your ex is not healthy.
Provide structure and security
Young children thrive on the familiar so maintaining their routines is critical. Living between two homes can be confusing so as you go through that transition remain calm and clearly explain things. Keeping them stable and their lives predictable is important. They should know where they are going, when they are going to spend time with their other parent and you can even post their schedule for the week so they can see it. Make sure they have a bag that goes back and forth to the other parent's house so they always know where to put a favorite stuffed animal or blanket (and so these things are never forgotten!).
Take care of yourself
Divorce is an upheaval of most parts of your life and it can be hard to manage the emotions by yourself. It is critical that you take care of yourself. Visiting regularly with a therapist, exercising, and spending time with your friends are all important to staying sane and emotionally healthy for your children.
Take time out just for them
During the divorce you are going to be busy with extra appointments for lawyers and planners as well as lots of reading, packing and possibly moving. Carve out times to put it all aside and spend time with your just children. It might be easiest to do this outside of your home so you can not get distracted. Go a playground, indoor museum, or go see the boats down on the Philly waterfront. Sometimes even a walk outside in the fresh air can do you all a world of good.
Remember, when children are young their primary bond and connection is to their parents. While they may not understand what is going on they can certain feel your tension. When you stay calm and they feel your attention they can continue to go through and enjoy their own lives knowing you and their other parent are both right their supporting them.