School Age Child Parenting Plans and Custody Schedules (6-12 years)
A parenting plan for a school age child has all of the information of a basic parenting plan but it is customized to fit the needs of a 6 to 12 year old child.
Custody X Change is software that helps parents create a parenting plan and parenting time schedule for a school-age child.
Here are some things you need to know about 6 to 12 year old children to make your parenting plan more effective.
- School age children are more comfortable with separations from parents because of school, spending time with friends, participating in extra activities, etc. Your child will be able to handle longer separations from each parent.
- School age children understand concepts of time and routine. You can give your child a calendar that shows the parenting time and other activities the child is involved with.
- School age children are more independent and can be comfortable having two homes. Your child should be okay spending time in both parents' homes.
- School age children adjust well to different parenting styles.
- School age children are very flexible in their development and can adapt to a creative parenting plan. You have a lot of options for choosing a schedule that works for your situation.
- School age children should be encouraged to try a lot of different activities and to be involved outside of the home. Your parenting plan should allow your child to participate in activities and both parents should be supportive.
- School age children should be given the opportunity to talk on the phone to the other parent in private. You may want to include a provision about this in your plan.
- School age children do better in school when both parents are involved in schooling. Your plan should allow both parents to help your child with homework, go to parent-teacher meetings, attend school activities, etc.
An older child may have opinions about the parenting plan and the custody schedule. Children should be allowed to express their feelings and you may consider their views but the parents must make the final decisions about the parenting plan.
Your custody schedule should give your child as much contact with both parents as possible. As you make your schedule you should consider the involvement of each parent with the child before the separation, the geographical distance between the parents' homes, the parents' work schedules and commitments, and the parents' level of conflict.
For school age children, you should maintain a consistent schedule and limit the number of transitions between households. Some children will need a schedule that provides a home base while others will do well alternating between households. You should also give your child's social activities and commitments priority whenever possible.
Some common custody schedules for 6 to 12 year olds are:
An alternating weekends schedule with a midweek evening visit.
An alternating weeks schedule where the child alternates weeks with each parent.
A 2-2-3 schedule where the child spends time with both parents during the week.
6 to 12 year olds do well with many different types of custody schedules. Depending on your family situation, one of the following schedules may work for you:
- The 5-2 schedule or the 2-2-5-5 schedule where your child is with one parent for 5 days and the other parent for 2 days.
- The 2 weeks each schedule where your child alternates spending 2 weeks with each parent.
- The every 3rd week schedule where your child spends 2 weeks with one parent and the 3rd week with the other parent.
- The alternating every 2 days schedule where your child alternates spending 2 days with each parent.
- The every 3rd day schedule where your child spends 2 day with one parent and 1 day with the other parent.
- The 4-3 schedule or the 3-4-4-3 schedule where your child spends 4 days with one parent and 3 days with the other parent.
- The 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends schedule or the 2nd, 4th and 5th weekends schedule where your child lives with one parent and has assigned weekends with the other parent.
- The every 3rd weekend schedule where your child spends every 3rd weekend with the nonresidential parent.
You should include a holiday schedule in your custody schedule that shows where your child will be for each holiday.
You can also have a summer break schedule if you want a different residential schedule when your child is on summer break.
Understanding some of the development of children from 6 to 12 years old can help you make a better parenting plan and custody schedule for your child.
Between the ages of 6 and 12, children develop peer and community relationships. Their friendships become very important to them and they are mostly friends with members of the same sex.
Children this age gain self esteem as they accomplish things in school and learn new skills. Parents should encourage their children to try many activities like sports, clubs, music and scouts. There should be a balance between activities and free time because children of this age still need time to just play.
Parents should have close communication with teachers, school employees, and parents of your children's friends. This will help you know what is going on in your child's life and learn about problems quickly.
Children have many physical developments from 6 to 12 years old. Parents should help children understand what is going on with their bodies and provide appropriate information.
From 6 to 12 years, children will be exposed to many issues through television, other media, and friends. Parents must discuss issues like violence, sexuality, and substance abuse with their children. Parents should encourage their child to talk openly about concerns and express themselves without fear of punishment.
School age children are able to participate in family chores and can help around the house. Parents should communicate their expectations to their children and help them learn responsibility and work.
Children in this age group shouldn't watch more than 2 hours of television a day.