When you have divorced or separated and young children are involved in the situation, it is important to take cautious steps with regards to establishing custody or creating a practical parenting plan. After all, both infants and children are vulnerable and can be just as affected by a divorce as an older child. Some younger children are unable to grasp what is going on and don’t understand why both parents are no longer around them at the same time. A good child custody lawyer, will encourage parents to work together to create a parenting schedule that is easy to follow and focuses on benefitting the child.
Ideally, you will turn to a child custody lawyer for help and advice with creating a practical parenting plan. On the other hand, if you’re unable to come to an amicable arrangement and are worried about the possibility of having to go to court, it may be a good idea to consult a child custody lawyer right away.
Creating a Parenting Plan that Involves Young Children
If you and your co-parent are creating a parenting plan that will include young children, consider this advice that could make the planning process easier. It will also ensure your plan is beneficial for the child as well as both of you.
Sync Your Schedules and Routines
Any child should be on a schedule; however, when it comes to infants and young children, this is even more critical. Everything is new to an infant, thus, keeping them rested, safe, and fed is key to ensuring they develop correctly. Toddlers are not as delicate, but will thrive when they are able to follow usual routines and a schedule.
Going from one home to another is not easy for a child of any age; however, when both parents are able to stick to the same routine, they can offer the child a sense of balance and normalcy. As a child custody lawyer might tell you, in order to sync your schedule, it will be important to draft a plan that both of you can follow. Changing routines every week or so can be stressful for a child, so be sure to create an arrangement that works for everyone. It might also help to create a daily routine. You and the co-parent are encouraged to sit down and decide on a daily schedule that includes feeding times, naps, bedtimes, and other events in a child’s life that they are used to.
Keep Visits Short
Children are sensitive and do best when they are able to spend time with each parent on a frequent basis. Older children might be okay to switch time between parents every week or every other week. Younger children, on the other hand, may be better suited to seeing each parent every few days. Psychologists recommend that parents who share custody of young children and infants share their time in two – three day increments. If this is not possible, consider short visits with the parent and child in between custody switches. For instance, if one of you has the child for one week, it may be a good idea for the other parent to visit the child at least once during that time.
Almost every day a young child will reach a milestone. When parents are divorced, both will miss achievements that are made by the child. For example, taking their first steps, learning how to ride a bicycle, losing a tooth, getting a haircut, and so forth. Both parents should talk about these milestones. Pictures or live video feeds might also be considered. By doing so, the parent and child can feel a sense of emotional support.
In the event that you and your ex have poor communication skills, it is recommended to talk about anything that could affect the wellbeing of the child. For example, if the child learned how to walk up the stairs, make sure your co-parent is aware of this to ensure the correct safety precautions are taken.
Speak with an Attorney
Drafting a sound parenting plan takes time, and in many cases, is not easy. With the help of a leading child custody lawyer, it is doable. If you would like to create a parenting plan, or are in need of help with a custody matter, please call a child custody lawyer today.