Divorce is hard on everybody, but it can be especially difficult for children. Unfortunately, divorce is common. Here are some ways you can help your children get through divorce.

Reassure Them of Your Love

As a child, divorce shakes things that seem unbreakable. It probably never occurred to them that their parents could split up. About 45% of first marriages in the United States end in divorce. This means that a lot of children are affected. If you have a child and are going through a divorce, you want to make the process as easy for them as possible. This might lead them to think that it was their fault. They might worry about what else could change. Make sure that both you and your ex are there for your children. Reassure your children that you love them and that the divorce is not because of something they did. While this may not eliminate all of their fears, it will make them feel more secure with you.

Co-Parent Civilly

If possible, you and your ex should make a point of co-parenting with respect and civility. You don’t need to spend a lot of time together, but you should both have your child’s best interests in mind. Make sure that child support is paid on time. The parent offering 50% or more in child support might be able to claim tax exemptions, so keep that in mind if you start to struggle over child support. You both want your child to have a good life and to get through your divorce with minimal trauma. To do this, you’ll need to work together enough to take care of them.

Allow Your Child to Express Their Emotions

Despite all of your efforts, your children will probably be upset during and after the divorce process. Make sure that you’re giving them a space to safely express those motions. These might include fear or sadness. There might also be anger directed at you or your ex. Your child needs to be able to process what is happening. You need to listen to them without judgment or getting defensive. If they need help beyond what you can offer, you should also find them that help. Divorce can be so stressful that if your child doesn’t have a healthy way to express emotions, they could come out in unhealthy ways instead.

Consider What Your Child Wants

As you set up things like new homes and custody arrangements, you’ll have to consider a lot of different things. However, you should always consider what your child wants. Parents settle 90% of custody cases without needing a judge’s ruling. In your case, make sure that you keep your child’s wants in mind as you set up custody. Consider things like the school they’ll attend, any extracurriculars they might do, and how their support network looks. You’ll want to make sure your child can continue to be a part of these familiar, comforting things.

Spend a Little Extra Time Together

Make a point of spending some extra time with your child during the divorce process. Even if you’re stressed and upset, you can still do something nice for them. It doesn’t need to be big. Even a special dinner out or a movie night can help your child feel seen and wanted. It can also be a stress reliever for both of you. Set a date and don’t skip it. You’ll both feel better.

Children suffer during divorce, so you want to mitigate the damage as much as possible. Make sure that your child feels appreciated and heard throughout this time in their life. Your support will make a big difference as they get used to the idea of divorce.