Parents thinking about ending their relationship frequently worry about what that will mean for their relationship with their children. Especially if someone has become a parent in the last few years, they may believe that a divorce or separation would make it very difficult for them to spend time with their child.
Those with infants and toddlers often feel trapped in unhappy relationships for the sake of their children. While it is true that there are unique challenges inherent in shared custody scenarios with very young children, it is still possible for adults to share custody when children are babies or toddlers. Adults may need to plan a bit more carefully to accommodate a child’s needs.
How do people share custody of small children?
The younger a child is, the less likely they are to have a sense of object permanence. Any lengthy separation from their primary caregivers can be a source of distress. Therefore, when a child is a newborn or infant, it is often necessary to have regular, short parenting sessions. Sometimes, one parent will simply visit with the child every day after work.
When children mature, longer visits, including overnight stays and weekend visits, are easier to manage. By the time they are in grade school, both parents can have multi-night parenting sessions with the child without any risk of that schedule damaging their bond with their primary caregiver.
Parents planning a custody schedule for an infant or toddler should always seek to do what is developmentally appropriate for the child. Having realistic expectations can make the transition to shared custody less difficult for a family.