It is very important that divorcing spouses develop schedules for child contact visitation. This ensures that the children spend quality time with both parents. The age of the children is an important factor to consider when creating schedules. The following provides information to help you decide how to set up a contact schedule that best suits the needs of your children.
Infants and Babies to 18 Months
Infants and babies up to age eighteen months need consistency and familiarity. The younger your child, the shorter and more frequently you should have contact with them. The environments at both parents' homes should be as similar as possible, especially with sleeping arrangements and the set up of bedrooms.
If possible, you should use the same caretaker when neither you nor your ex-spouse can be with your child. Do your best not to leave your child with unfamiliar caretakers to prevent frequent changes to your child's environment. Your child should have the same nap, bedtime, and feeding schedule, the same formula, etc. Overnight visits might be appropriate depending on the frequency and amount of contact between you and your child and the duplication of schedule and environment commitment.
Children 18 Months to 3 Years
Children ages eighteen months to three years need continuity and familiarity that is similar to infants. Toilet training methods should be the same for both parents. Your child also needs the same routine for activities, bedtime, and eating. Structure is very important for your child's social and emotional development.
Children Ages 3 to 5
Children ages three to five require predictability and regular assurance of when they will see their other parent to prevent them from suffering from separation anxiety. There should be minimal changes to a child's schedule. Using a calendar with the days with each parent highlighted in different colors will help give your child a reference point.
Your child needs a continuation of the previous considerations for infants and toddlers. In addition, you should consider additional visits during weekends, on holidays, and during summer vacation.