You tell them the truth. Within reason. I did this a few years ago.
“Your dad and I aren’t happy living together. It has nothing to do with you. We both love you so much. We can’t be the best mum and dad to you when we live in the same house. And we both love you so much we want to be the best mum and dad we can be. We need to do this by living apart but we will both always be in your lives and your mum and dad.”
- You don’t blame.
- You don’t insinuate it’s one parent’s fault over the other’s fault.
- You don’t drop hints at fault.
- You do not allow in-laws or other family members to chime in or handle it.
- You talk in person, not over text or phone.
- You have a plan before you talk to your kids, ex: Mum will live here and dad will live down the road. We will both take you to school. We will both attend your recitals, etc.
- If you don't have answers, you tell them you don't know and will figure it out along the way. Don't act like everything is fine or will be fine because it's not. It's going to be hard for you, your ex and the kids.
- Explain you are going to be working at getting along better and, no matter how much you may hate your ex, or are angry, never let your children know this.