When Should You Tell Your Children You’re Getting Divorced?

Ending a relationship is never easy especially when children are involved. Author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE shares her advice on talking to children about a break-up in Red’s 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You File for Divorce.

When should I tell our children?

Don’t tell children you’re planning on getting divorced if you’re just thinking about it and haven’t reached a decision yet but if they do ask you answer as honestly as is age appropriate. You want to keep the channels of communication open between you and ensure your children know they can trust you because if you do get divorced they need to able to talk to you about how they feel and believe you when you tell them how much you both love them and that the divorce isn’t their fault.

However angry, upset and justified you feel do not run down your partner in front of your child because this is very harmful to their self-image.

How will our kids cope if we do spilt?

Nearly all parents completely underestimate how much a child will blame themselves when their parents split up. Telling them it’s not their fault on a daily basis throughout the breakup and for a long time afterwards will help to reassure them. Don’t over play it, but with gentle words and touches tell them how much they are loved by both of you.

If you have a new partner it is best to wait at least six month before introducing them because a marriage ending is like a bereavement for a child and it takes time for them to adjust. Allow them to talk to about how feel and listen calmly to what they have to say.

Sarah Beeson’s MBE is a former health visitor and author of parenting guide Happy Baby, Happy Family and health visiting memoir Our Country Nurse published by HarperCollins available in paperback, eBook and audiobook.


Is your Little One a Christmas Baby?

All I want for Christmas is some peace on earth and time alone with my new baby.

If your baby is due during the holiday season you might be feeling like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve can pass you by. The greatest gift all those festive well-wishers with time on their hands between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day can give you is some space.

Whether it’s weddings, Christmas or how you welcome your new child into your lives – you can’t please everyone, so just for once, why not please yourself? Wanting time alone to adjust and enjoy this time isn’t selfish, it makes complete sense. So, if you are feeling like you’d like to turn off the fairy lights and block up the chimney, skip the visits to the relatives and just have time as your new family or as a couple, I say do it!

Pregnant over Christmas

christmas bump
The thought of eating a big dinner might be the only thing keeping you going. If that’s the case let someone else do all the hard work. You’ll need to be near to the place you are going to give birth whether that’s in a hospital or at home. Having a house full might not be ideal if you go into labour so have conversations early on to and try and explain to close family what will make you feel the most supported.

If you fancy one last Christmas just you and your partner – what could be nicer. Sounds relaxing and romantic to me, and could be just what you need. Next Christmas is going to be all about your Little One, you’ll never get this chance again. So put your feet up, go for a walk, watch a little TV and enjoy quality time together, because soon that’s going to hard to come by. It might not be what your mum and dad want to hear but part of being a parent is putting your child’s needs first, and you’re still their baby.

Yule Tide New born

christmas baby present

It can very special to have a new baby at Christmas but it can also be overwhelming how many people are off work and want to visit. If you are in a relationship, or have a close family member or friend that you want to be with you give them the role of Gate Keeper. Let them answer the calls, emails and texts on your behalf and say no we aren’t ready for visitors just yet.

Or if you do want people to stop by, make it clear when and for how long they can stay. You don’t want people knocking on your door when you’ve just got the baby to sleep and are ready for some much needed shut-eye yourself. Be specific about when it’ll be OK for people to visit, say something like, ‘You’re very welcome. If you’d like to pop in for a mince pie and to say hello between 3-4pm on Thursday that would be great.’

Don’t be afraid to cancel. If you’re having a difficult day and really can’t face visitors than just cancel – good friends will always understand. Keep tabs on how you feel. After a new baby your emotions can be up and down. Whatever feels right for you, is the right thing to do. Whether that’s having people every other day, three times a week, or once a week. Suit yourself.

Don’t try and do it all

Entertaining people takes a lot of preparation. You also need to keep yourself well-nourished because you’ll noticed your day mainly consists of feeding, feeding, feeding. If funds allow get your shopping delivered. Food that’s easy to warm up is a blessing, and you’re going to need that energy giving nourishing food now more than ever.

If friends and family want to help out let them know a homemade stew or lasagne and of course cake and mince pies would be very welcome. It’ll give you the time you need to focus on taking care of your baby and yourself if you’re not having to worry about preparing meals.

Christmas Baby Checklist

Ooops, I forgot to get them a present

You’ve just given the gift of life what more could anyone expect and also money might be a little tight with all the new baby shopping. With a new baby on the way it’s understandable that buying presents and sending cards to loved ones might have slipped your mind. What could be nicer than a photo of your little Christmas angel and a text message or email letting everyone know how you are.

Do it your way

However you want to spend the holidays is the right way to do it. Whether that’s merry-making with loved ones or a cosy time just the two or maybe three of you.

It’ll make our Christmas if you send us some #babysnaps on Twitter and Facebook. I guarantee you’ll be taking hundreds this holiday.

You are the expert on your own child, lots of luck and Merry Christmas.

sarah name

About Sarah Beeson MBE

After four decades as a health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and her daughter Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival, Sarah’s true story of life as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. The follow up memoir She’s Arrived! (March 2016) and parenting book  Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby (7 May 2015) will be published by HarperCollins.

Did  you have or a are you expecting a Christmas Baby? Tweet us @NewArrivalBook or send us a message on Facebook – we want to hear about your experience.


Mother and Baby Mag Dec 2014Going to your first Christmas Party after having a baby?

See Sarah’s advice featured in Mother&Baby on leaving your Little One for the first time.