Parents often ask me how they should structure the time children spend with each parent. That depends a lot on what the children are used to, how involved each parent was before the divorce, how attached they are to each parent, and the parents’ schedule. It also varies based upon whether the parent is really available – will they be with the parent or with a babysitter?
Yesterday I wrote about Robert Emery. His site also includes some creative ideas for Parenting Plans (also known as visitation). He has different suggestions depending on the ages of the children and their stages of development. Young children need more frequent contact for shorter amounts of time, while older children may need to switch less often and spend longer with each parent.
One option that he suggests for 6-9 year old children is Monday and Tuesday with one parent, Wednesday and Thursday with the other, and alternate weekends. The result is 5 days with one parent, 2 days with the other, then 2 days with the first and 5 days with the other. In other words, it works out to 50/50 time, but with fairly frequent contact with both parents. I’ve worked with parents who have chosen this, and they seemed to be very pleased.
What parenting schedules have worked for you? What would you suggest?