Visitation Schedules for Young Children
This article provides insight on creating a visitation schedule that meets the needs of a pre-school aged child. Covers decision-making and important items to include.
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it.
If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
The age of your child can have a profound effect on your visitation schedule. Young children (ages 3 to 5) are still developing their language and social skills. They lack the maturity older children have.
Older children are more likely to get the concept of divorce and they understand why their parents are no longer together and why they must go back and forth between them.
Younger children might not understand divorce and they may think they did something wrong.
Depending on their age, they may have fears about leaving their primary caregiver or become distressed by a lengthy absence. Children this age may be afraid of the dark or have irrational fears (such as being afraid of monsters) and this may make overnight visitation difficult on the parent and stressful for the child.
You know your little one best and it is important to create an age appropriate visitation schedule that meets your child’s needs. When you use Custody X Change to create your schedule, you can play around with the schedule until you find the right fit for your child.
You should evaluate the schedules of the parents and the unique needs of your child when making your schedule. Many courts have generic custody schedules that you are able to use. You don’t have a generic child, so you should strive to make a visitation schedule customized to your child’s needs.
Childcare is something that should be considered when deciding on the visitation days and times. If your child is in daycare but your ex gets off work much earlier than you do, you may want to consider letting the other parent pick up your child from daycare and spend a bit of time with him or her each day. A child should not have to sit in daycare if there is a ready and able parent available to take care of the child.
Ultimately, it is up to you to figure out which schedule would work out the best for your child.
When you use Custody X Change to create your child visitation schedule you will discover how easy it is to make adjustments to the schedule and you can use it to get a great visual of the different schedules you may want to consider.
The foundation of your visitation schedule will be the residential schedule. The residential schedule will dictate when your child will spent time with each of you on a regular basis. The residential schedule should be consistent and establish a routine for your child.
Once you determine exactly how you want to divide your child’s time you can use the Custody X Change software to create a calendar so you will always know where your child is supposed to be and when.
The software allows you to set up a recurring schedule so you can print out your calendar months (or even years) in advance without have to count and mark off days on a regular calendar.
You should also include a holiday schedule in your child visitation schedule so you can give your child time with both parents on holidays and other special occasions.
You may include any holidays you would like in your schedule. Federal and state holidays, religious holidays, birthdays, and any special occasions you wish to include may be allocated for visitation.
Custody X Change has a list of the standard holidays that most parents include in their schedules and you can even add in additional holidays that you would like to incorporate into your plan.
Many parents choose to alternate holidays and rotate them throughout the year but you may want to consider splitting the holidays in a manner that allows your child to see both of you for each holiday.
For example, you may want your child to spend Easter morning with one parent and the afternoon with the other parent. Custody X Change allows you to divide your child’s custody schedule into time increments, not just days. You could specify that the child has visitation with the other parent from 1pm until 6pm on Easter (or any holiday).
Custody X Change allows you the freedom to completely customize your schedule according to your child’s needs and your family traditions. You should never feel obligated to conform to a set or generic court schedule if you and your ex are able to work out one on your own.
You will also want to include vacation time in your visitation schedule. Young children are not in school yet so you don’t necessarily have to designate specific times for vacation to accommodate their school schedule.
You may want to simply include provisions in your plan that state how much vacation time each parent will have with the child each year and how much advance notice should be given to the other parent.