Hints from a Conroe, Texas divorce attorney on scheduling time with young children after a divorce
All divorce attorneys recognize the importance of keeping both parents involved in their children's lives. Children of all ages– from infants to adolescents– need regular time with each parent. How to best schedule and structure that time depends on the age and developmental stage of the child. Here are some suggestions for timesharing arrangements for very young children from infancy through the preschool years.
Infancy to 3 years : consistency and continuity
Children in this youngest group should have short, but frequent contacts with the parent who is not the primary caregiver. Overnight visits with that parent may be appropriate in some cases if the parent has had frequent contact with the child and has provided or is capable of providing the constant care and attention a very young child needs.
Babies and toddlers need familiarity and consistency which can be provided by:
- Keeping the child's environment at each parent's home as similar as possible. The child should sleep in the same type of crib and have the same blankets and favorite toys. Even the same soaps, cleansers, and detergents can be used to keep the scents in each home consistent and familiar.
- Maintaining the same schedule for eating, playing, baths, naps, and bedtime in each home.
- Using the same babysitter if possible when neither parent can be with the child.
- Using the same toilet training methods.
Structure is important to very young children and it should be the same in both homes.
Three to 5 years: predictability and reassurance
At this stage, the time periods the child spends with the parent who is not the primary caretaker can usually be extended. For example, the child may adjust well to spending alternate weekends at the other parent's home, and a week or more during vacations.
However, preschoolers are often prone to separation anxiety. They need a predictable time sharing schedule and frequent reassurance when they are with one parent that they will soon see the other. One method for providing reassurance that has worked for many families is to hang the same calendar in each home. The parents should mark the days that the child will spend with each parent in a different color, e.g., blue for mom and red for dad. Then each parent can mark off the days and show the anxious child how many days will go by before he or she gets to see the other parent.
Contact a Conroe, Texas divorce attorney
If you need assistance with a divorce, child custody, or child support matter, call the Peterson Law Group at 936-337-4681 or 979-703-7014. Our experienced Conroe, Texas divorce attorneys will stand up for your rights and protect your interests.