As much as we don’t want to think about the possibility of a separation between two parents, in the modern era it is becoming more and more commonplace to find that parents are separating while a child is very young. If that turns out to be the case for someone you know or yourself, we hope these considerations below help you find an amicable agreement where shared parenting works and is considerate of not only the child’s needs, but also your own as a parent of your child.
Your custody agreement ought to mirror the needs of your kids and it should change as your kids develop and grow. Kids of various ages have completely different needs throughout different developmental phases, and the parenting plan should adapt to fulfill these needs. Parents who select a shared parenting agreement ought to take into account the ages of the kids once they determine the best way to divide custody and numerous parenting obligations. Here are some ideas for making shared parenting work with a young child who may be an infant or toddler.
A toddler between zero and 9 months has completely different needs than older kids. To make shared parenting work with a toddler or an infant, both dad and mom need ample time to care for the infant or toddler to bond with their kid. Infants quickly learn to connect themselves to their caregivers, so it’s important for dad and mom to meet the role of caregiver often enough so the infant will identify and connect with the mother or father.
This means that the most effective custody schedule for a toddler or infant requires lots of switching between dad and mom. Infants will simply forget an absent father or mother, so there must be frequent contact with both mom and dad. Ideally, an infant or toddler shouldn’t be away from either dad or mom for more than a few days.
Many individuals wonder if overnight visits will work for his or her child. If both dad and mom have been involved in caring for the young child before the separation, then overnights ought to be okay for the baby’s development. If the infant or toddler has a stronger connection to one of the parents as a result of that parent was primarily responsible for feeding, changing, bathing, playing, and comforting, then a custodial schedule ought to start with brief visits lasting several hours. These visits ought to be frequent though – at the least, every few days. During these visits, the father or mother should have time to feed, bathe, play with, put to sleep for naps, and otherwise bond with the baby. This may help the infant respond to that dad or mom and you’ll quickly increase the time to overnights.
There are other issues to think about if you’re shared parenting with an infant or toddler. If the infant is breastfeeding you’ll need to center your visiting schedule around that activity. Additionally, you will want to consider who will care for the child when he or she is sick, who will buy clothes for the infant, what supplies both dad and mom will need at their houses, and so on.
As in any shared parenting arrangement, communication is important. Because infants develop so rapidly, there can be so much to report on. You need to have a daily communication log where you’ll be able to report details about eating, sleeping, and many of the baby’s milestones and developments.
It’s possible for an infant or toddler to enjoy and grow to be attached to both dad and mom after parents separate. If mother and father take into account the age-specific needs of their baby they’ll be able to make an agreement that works. This may build a foundation for shared parenting to work through the kid’s life through adolescence and into adulthood.