Divorcing couples in California face a difficult task in telling their children about the divorce and the upcoming changes. Kids will wonder if they must switch schools, if they will get to keep their friends and how often they will see each parent. To simplify the discussion and prevent the panic and stress children may feel, parents can do a few things before planning the conversation with their kids.

Parents Magazine suggests that couples present a united front when they are meeting with their children. Although lives will be separate soon enough, this is one area that parents need to be on the same page and together on. This also shows kids that their parents will still be able to raise and guide them together even if they are no longer married.

It is also a good idea to approach the situation as a family. Do not tell each child individually, but rather as a family. The only exception to this rule is if there is concern that an older child may upset a younger child who does not understand what is happening as well because of their age.

Today’s Parent defines different age groups because kids are at different developmental stages but stressed the fact that this is not a conversation parents should approach without planning. Every kid will react differently to the news, but most parents know their children well enough that they can anticipate questions that may come up and concerns the child will have.

Parents should also do their best to contain conflict. Children should not be used as pawns or as messengers for important information from spouse to spouse. Both parents should continue to nurture the bond with their children whether they are the custodial parent or not.