Long, Murphy & Zung, P.A.

What's an ideal visitation schedule for your infant or toddler?

For children less than 2.5 years of age, child psychologists argue this is a critical time age for a parent to bond with his or her child and establish themselves as his or her primary caretaker. At this age, children are just learning to develop trust for others.

Therefore, any lengthy separations between the child and his or her caregiver can lead him or her to regress developmentally or enter a depressive state. It may also result in future separation anxiety.

Most child psychologists advocate for children to spend time with both parents at this stage as a way to build a healthy foundation for the child. They note that when separation anxiety creeps in, a child can find comfort in looking at images of toys they have at their other parent's home as a way of coping.

At this stage, especially as your child enters the toddler phase, child psychologists recommend for the child be allowed to spend time with both parents. They however note that visits with the noncustodial parent should be kept short. That's because a child's ability to retain a clear picture of the parent given primary custody of him or her is much harder the younger his or her age.

This is one of the reasons they advocate for children having more frequent visits with the noncustodial parent as opposed to longer ones. It's also the reason that child psychologists argue that a child this young should never stay overnight at the other parent's home. In the ideal world, they note that parents with shared physical custody would both spend time with the child daily.

One of the visitation agreements that's gaining in popularity among parents with children in this age bracket is 'nesting'. It often involves a child's home environment remaining the same and the parents instead coming and going from the former family homestead instead.

Oftentimes, the parent that isn't scheduled to have visitation at any given time will have a second residence to spend his or her time at. Having a stable home environment creates a sense of continuity for the child, which can be important for his or her continued positive development.

If you and your partner have decided to call it quits, you're mind find that reaching a consensus as to a visitation schedule is not easily done. If you're both having difficulty reaching an agreement, then you may benefit from discussing your case with an experienced Naples custody litigation attorney.

Source: Family Education, "Age-appropriate visitation," accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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