In this article, I will suggest some tips, which take into account a child’s development stage, that parents can consider when determining care arrangements.

In the previous article (Child Development and Tips for Parents), we talked about the stages of development children go through and provided some general tips for parents during each stage. 

It is important for parents to remember that there is no uniform approach that has to be taken when deciding on care arrangements. These are simply ideas for parents to consider and are by no means the only care arrangements that will work for their children.

Birth to 24 months

At this stage, the focus for the parents may be on the newborn breastfeeding and securing an attachment to the primary caregiver. Shorter and more frequent visits generally benefit the child so that a bond is established.  This could look like multiple shorter visits throughout week.

This provides:

  • The non-custodial parent with shorter, but more frequent, visits throughout the week;
  • The custodial parent with some break; and
  • Consistency & predictability for the child.

Early Childhood  and Pre-Schoolers (2-5 years)

A change in rhythm can impact a child at this stage; therefore, consistency and predictability are important.

Children of this age are also developing some independence and should have formed an attachment to the primary caregiver, meaning they are able to start having more time with the non-custodial parent.

So, increasing the time the child has with the non-custodial parent could be considered at this age.

Middle Childhood (6-11 years)

The fact that children at this age are looking to develop social skills and friendships could mean that care arrangements and time with parents is being impacted by the children wanting to spend more time with peers and friends. Parents understanding this and having good communication between themselves, as well as with the child, will be important.

Care arrangements at this stage may not involve a non-custodial parent as a shared care arrangement might be appropriate. 

Teenagers (12-16 years)

Care arrangements at this stage will be even further impacted by teenagers wanting to engage in extra-curricular activities, or spending time with their friends as they try to develop their own identity. 

If you would like to talk about some potential care arrangements for your children, please contact one of our family lawyers.

Relationship & Family Care of Children