Shared Parenting With Grade School Children
Continuing with our posts about setting up shared parenting arrangements with different ages of children, today’s post looks at parenting plans for grade school children. We’ll look at plans for children ages 5-9 and plans for ages 10-12.
These are the middle childhood years. Children at this age get used to spending time away from parents–time at school, activities with friends, etc. Children at this age usually adapt well and can get used to having two residences. They also start to grasp the concept of time and calendars.
Starting with this age, parents can be more creative about the custody arrangements they set up. Some children will have no problem spending equal time at each parent’s house, and other children will still need a home base but can have more frequent and longer visitation with the other parent. If you give the child a calendar with the visitation marked and explain it may help some of the apprehension with the transitions.
A child can spend almost equal time with each parent. It’s important for a child this age to spend as much time as possible with both parents. It is good if both parents have opportunities to help the child with school work and to be involved in other activities with them. Children at this age should also be given opportunities to call the other parent whenever they wish. Some children at the older end of this spectrum may want to give input into the parenting plan. You can listen and discuss with them, but ultimately the parent makes the decisions.
These are the pre-teen years for children. Children at this age are preparing to enter adolescents. They have a solid grasp on time and schedules and do well with calendars and planning ahead. Children at this age may align themselves with one parent. It’s important for both parents to be supportive of visitation so the child can spend time with each parent.
Children at this age learn how to balance extra activities with friends and family. Parents should encourage children to participate in social and school activities. Children at this age can handle many different types of parenting plans and they should have frequent contact with both parents. Parents should take the child’s extra activities into account when creating a schedule.
For more information about making a shared parenting plan for grade school children, check out this website: http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/afccsharedparenting.pdf