It's probably not necessary to initiate a conversation about ‘why’ you are separating to a 2 and 4 year old. If you are responding to their questions about ‘Why…?“ it might be helpful to ask them further questions to find out what their concerns are, and then respond to those - for example, if your child is asking ”Why is Daddy not living with us?“ you may respond with something like ”Are you worried that you won’t see Daddy anymore?" Young children are more likely to need to know about how the separation will affect them, than about the reason you have separated.
The question of how to speak to your children about your husband's depression is a separate one. You might explain that it is an illness that people need to get help for, and that it makes it hard for them to feel happy, take part in activities (and whatever other symptoms your husband may be experiencing). It may be worth buying some resources that you can share with them about depression - such as those available through the Sane Australia website. http://www.sane.org/information/bookshop/category/15/families-+-friends
A list of children's resources is also available through Melbourne's Bouverie Centre. http://www.bouverie.org.au/programs/mental-health-team/fapmi/information-children-young-people-families/resources-children
You may also be asking yourself - why have we separated? Even though you were the one to initiate the separation, it may be important for you to work through how you feel about having ended the relationship, whether you want to try and work through the issues with your ‘ex’, and to be supported through what may be a difficult transition into the next phase of your life. A skilled relationship counsellor can assist you to work this through, either on your own or with your husband if you choose.
Hope this helps
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