What is the best visitation schedule for an 18 month old?
My sons father and I are trying to come up with a reasonable visitation schedule that is best for my son. He wanted to do Mon, Wend, Friday and every other Sunday. I want a schedule with stability for him, and I don't think switching back and forth every other day is stability. I have never done this before so I want to know some sort of visitation schedule that would be best for a 18 month old.
Deciding the best visitation schedule can be tough. I agree with you that every other day could be confusing for your son and also confusing for you and your ex.
There are several different types of visitation schedules that seem to be common among blended families: Shared Visitation: one week with one parent, and then one week with the other parent. Primary Custody: one parent has primary custody and the other parent sees the child every other weekend and 1-2 days (Tuesday and Thursday, or Wednesday) during the week.
What's important is that your son has a relationship with both mom and dad. You don't have to like your ex-spouse, but it's important to encourage your child to have a relationship with his dad, and speak positively about those visits.
You can try several different schedules until the two of you agree on what works out best for you and your ex. Your child will be fine with any of the schedules I mentioned, and most likely the schedule you mentioned also. (He would probably be the one the least confused.)
If you keep the main goal in mind, a relationship with both parents, any of these options will be fine.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC
Blended and Step Family Expert
Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
I find it very interesting that most parents I know (including myself) always want to have and provide their children with all sorts of stability and consistency from keeping the schedule for all outside of school activities (ie swim lesson, art lesson, swim lesson), keeping the same teacher for all these activities, buying the children the same color clothing – from the same brand they’ve been wearing since birth, the list goes on. But yet, children are extremely resilient and they accept changes better than parents think. In fact, I now know that children accept changes better than parents can. I’ll give a brief example. My second grader is in this after school program where he has a different teacher every 6 weeks and on every Wednesday he has a different teacher for club activities. I was very concern at first about this “unstable” schedule. It turned out my son knows which line to get into and when he is getting a different teacher every time. He is better at keeping track of it than me.
Regarding your question, if I understand correctly – it’s a “visiting” schedule and not staying with the father 24/7 on those days, right? I don’t see how an every other day schedule (Mon, Wed, Fri) is better or worst than a consecutive three days schedule (Mon, Tues, Wed). I think you should let your 18 months old be the judge of the schedule. Try out one schedule first and see how it turns out. If it doesn’t seems to be going too well, then switch to something more acceptable to all parties. Remember children are resilient and they accept changes very well.
Hi. I am actually going through the same situation. I am also one to want stability for my 18 month old son. Being that you posted this 2 months ago, you may have already found your answer or schedule. I have done an enormous amount of research on this subject, as well as overnight visitation and holidays. What I came up with is that frequency of the visitation is more important than longevity. So Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday for the day is what we came up with. We are about to try out his first overnight visitation next week. We are going to play that by ear, based on his reaction. If he starts acting different (clingy, doing attention seeking things, regressing) than we are going to shorten the overnight visit. If it is still affecting him negatively, then he is just not ready for it and we are going to hold off.
I'm not all for the evry other day schedule, personally. A psychologist told me that, when they are old enough, if you ask the child where they live, they will respond with "I don't know". But thats only if they are overnight visits and not just day visits.
I hope everything works out for you and your son!!! Hoped I was helpful.