Tips For Developing A Parenting Plan For A Toddler
Co-parenting a toddler after divorce comes with its own set of specific challenges, but it is worth it for parents to contend with these challenges so that they can be fully involved with raising their child. This is especially important when a child is in his or her toddler years, as children undergo rapid mental, physical, and emotional development between the ages of 18 months and three years old. Unfortunately, even when parents are on the same page with many aspects of child custody, creating a parenting plan that serves the needs of all parties and takes into account the needs of a growing toddler can be extremely difficult. Working with an attorney can make this process much simpler.
Understand Your Child
It’s always important for parents to have a good understanding of their child’s developmental stages. It is, however, especially important at the toddler stage, simply because children at this age change so much and so rapidly, so before attempting to create a parenting plan for your toddler, be sure to take a few factors into account. For instance, toddlers benefit from predictable, consistent schedules with a defined routine, so a parenting plan that reflects this need would be in a toddler’s best interests. It’s also critical to remember that:
- Toddlers create strong emotional attachments with their caregivers;
- Creating a strong attachment with a child enhances developmental outcomes;
- Toddlers need quality time with each parent in his or her home; and
- Toddlers are extremely sensitive to tension between parents.
Ultimately, the details of the parenting plan that a couple puts in place will largely depend on their family’s specific situation, but will need to account for history of attachment, the proximity of the parents’ residences, and the quality of the parenting time.
Ease the Transition
Change can be frightening for a young child, especially during divorce. One of the best ways to combat this in a toddler is to focus on making the transitions between visiting the parents’ homes as seamless as possible. To aid in this endeavor, parents should have a detailed plan for pick-ups and drop-offs. Some families, for instance, find it helpful for one parent to drop the child off at the other parent’s home, rather than having the parent who is exercising visitation do a pick-up, which can feel to a child like he or she is being taken away from a secure place.
Toddlers benefit from regular contact with both parents, so a parenting plan with alternating weekly visits may not work. Instead, parents should consider creating a plan that allows the child to spend two to three days in each parent’s house. These shorter visits will give the child the frequent engagement and stimulation with both parents that he or she needs. Furthermore, parents should be sure to maintain frequent contact with the child even when the other parent is exercising parenting time. Video conferencing and phone calls are a good way for both parents to stay in touch with the child.
Helpful Guidance from a Florida Child Custody Attorney
Legal assistance is crucial when negotiating a parenting plan, especially when the child is young. For help with your own parenting plan, call dedicated Florida child custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.