Creating a parenting plan is never easy, especially when your children are still young. Older children are often better equipped to handle divorce and separation issues, or they are at least able to grasp what is going on. Babies and young children, however, do not understand what is happening and ideally should be receiving attention and care from both parents during these early years. For this reason, it can be particularly difficult to create a schedule for a baby when the parents live in different households.
Sync Your Parenting Schedules and Routines
Keeping children on a schedule is extremely important, but when it comes to babies and toddlers, this step is crucial. For babies, everything is new, and keeping them fed and well rested is key to ensuring they grow and develop as they should. Toddlers are not quite so delicate, but they also thrive under a set schedule and known routines. Switching from home to home can be hard on children of any age, but if both parents are able to stick to the same schedule and routines, it can provide the children with a sense of normalcy and steadiness.
In order to sync your schedules, you need to come up with a consistent parenting plan. To which that both parents can strictly follow. Changing things week-by-week can be extremely challenging and could be stressful for your children, so make sure you find a custody arrangement that benefits everyone in some way. Keeping a steady day-to-day plan can also help significantly. Get together with your co-parent and settle on a shared schedule that includes nap times, feeding times, bedtimes, and other important daily events.
Keep Visits Short
Young children are particularly sensitive to their caretakers and they do best when they are able to spend time with both parents on a regular basis. Older children are usually more capable of balancing time with either parent and could do well with switching off between parents every week or every few days. Young children, however, typically need to see each parent every couple of days. For this reason, most child psychologists and other experts suggest that parents who share custody split their parenting time in 2 to 3-day increments. Or, if trading off parenting responsibilities every couple of days is not an option for you, consider scheduling visits with the other parent in between custody switches.
Communicate About Milestones
Young children hit new developmental milestones almost daily, and when parents share caretaker responsibilities, both are bound to miss certain achievements. If the two of you are amicable, try sending photos or videos of these moments to one another; it could help you cope with the time apart from your child.
Even if you cannot communicate this well with your ex, you should at least tell them about any new developments that could affect your child’s care. For example, if your child learned how to crawl out of the crib, make sure your co-parent is aware so that he or she can take the necessary safety precautions.
Creating a parenting plan is never easy, but with the help of an experienced child custody attorney, it is certainly doable. If you need help with a child custody or visitation issue, or if you need to modify an existing parenting plan, Dreyer Law is here to help. We offer free consultations for all Family Law needs.