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Visitation Schedules for Toddlers and Young Children That Meet Future and Current Needs

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 436

A lot of hard work, thought, and consideration should be put forth when you are making a visitation schedule for your toddler or young child. Creating a visitation schedule for a young child (ages 3-5) can be more difficult and involved than making a schedule for an older child because younger children have different needs than older ones do. You have to be careful not to harm their little impressionable minds and psyches. The last thing you want to do is to create a visitation schedule that causes your child to feel distressed.

Start with what you know will work. You should evaluate the previous history of the care of your child. Prior to your separation, was the other parent very involved with the child, more distant, or somewhere in the middle?

If the other parent was very "hands on" and spent a lot of time with the child, your visitation schedule should allow the child to spent a lot of time with the other parent. You don't want to disrupt the bond between your child and the other parent that has already been established. Trying to keep the other parent away from your child will only harm your child.

If the other parent has been absent from the child's life or not very involved, you will want to create your visitation schedule in a manner that allows your child enough time to adjust to the visitation. You may want to start with shorter visits and then work up to having longer visits and overnights. Even if the parent was absent before, it is never too late for a parent to build a relationship with their child.

If the other parent falls somewhere in between absent and very involved, such as a parent who worked a lot but still spent time with the child when possible, even if that time did not involve actually taking care of the child, you should create a visitation schedule that allows the other parent the opportunity to improve upon his or her previous role as a parent. It is important that the visits are long enough that the other parent has the opportunity to serve as a caregiver to the child and not just a "playmate".

When you make a visitation schedule for your young child you will also have to take into account that your child IS going to grow up and your custody agreement should have provisions in place to help you review and modify the plan in the future. You can even include different schedules for different age brackets so you will have something to base your future plans on. You can anticipate the needs of your child as they are in elementary school, junior high, and high school. Your estimations may need to be modified in the future but it is always a good idea to have something to fall back on.

Predicting your child's future needs may seem daunting. It may be a challenge to try to imagine your child as a teenager when they haven't even lost any teeth yet, but it is something that needs to be done if you want to create a comprehensive custody agreement that benefits your child. As long as you think about what is best for your child, your visitation schedule should benefit your child.

Kelly Turner is an advocate for children's custody rights. Kelly recommends Custody X Change to parents who need help creating a visitation schedule for toddlers and young children.

Source: EzineArticles
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