Parenting Plans and SchedulesOct 17, 2023
Parenting schedules (formerly known as visitation schedules) set specific times and arrangements for when each parent will be responsible for the children. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are certain elements that psychologists generally consider important in a good custody schedule. These include:
Consistency: A good schedule will provide consistency in the child's routine and help establish a sense of stability and security.
Flexibility: Recognize that children change and grow over time. What works for toddler, may not work for a teen. Allow for flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of the children.
Consideration of the Child's Age and Developmental Needs: A child-centered plan will take into account the child's age, developmental needs, and other important factors, such as school schedules, extracurricular activities, and medical appointments.
Clarity and Specificity: Once you create the schedule, provide clear and specific details about when your children will be with each parent, including the dates, times, and locations of exchanges.
Shared Responsibility: Gone are the days where we assume that the mom will be the only caregiver. The schedule should prioritize the children's relationship with each parent, and ensure that both parents have regular and meaningful contact with the child. Consider creating a plan that encourages shared responsibility between the parents, and promotes cooperation and communication.
This may mean a shift in the way you currently parent. If the idea of shifting responsibility makes you nervous, make sure you get coached around this transition!
Regular Review and Modification: Finally, a good custody schedule should be regularly reviewed and modified as necessary to reflect changes in the child's needs or the circumstances of the parents. I recommend setting a annual day (usually in April) to review your parenting plan.
Here are some common schedules you will hear about as you move through your divorce. Some are better than, others. A coach will help find a schedule that works best for your family.
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