How to Develop a Contact Schedule
In my experience, I often advise newly-divorced couples to develop a contact schedule for their children. It is vitally important for the children’s continued growth that they continue to have frequent contact with their parents. When developing a contact schedule, there are certain considerations to take into account depending on the age of the children.
Infants Up to 18 months
Babies this young need familiarity and consistency with their parents. I sometimes advise parents to keep contact with the children short and frequent and to keep both parents’ homes as identical as possible. The rooms should be kept closely similar and even the smells of fabrics and detergents should be the same to avoid disruption to the child’s sense of well-being. Frequent environmental changes or unfamiliar caretakers will be disruptive to the child. As much as possible, naps and bed time and bath time should be kept the same.
Toddlers 18 Months to Three Years
Toddlers this age need regular and frequent contact with their parents as well as continuity and structure. They need to exercise the same eating routine, daily activities and bedtime in both houses.
Preschoolers Age Three to Five
At this age, children need predictability and to know that they will see their other parent again shortly. It can be helpful to use a calendar highlighted with the days for each parent to give the child an easy reference point.
If you are struggling with how to handle your children during a divorce, I can help. Call New York family law lawyer Donald Wall at 212-695-6008.