It is important that each parent have the opportunity to become competent and comfortable in all aspects of the child’s daily routine. This includes bathing, feeding, napping, playing, reading, and arranging age-appropriate activities with other children.
Parents with a child of this age should consider:
- The amount of childcare that each parent provided before separation as well as the child’s temperament.
- If a parent was not regularly involved in caregiving, two to three daytime contacts weekly with the non-residential parent allows the parent-child bond to develop and strengthen as caregiving skills are mastered. The addition of an overnight visit may be planned after a short time if the child does not show signs of undue stress.
- It is preferable to begin with overnights spaced throughout the week, particularly if dealing with an only child.
- If both parents were involved in every aspect of childcare before the separation, the child should be able to be away from either parent for two or three days. Depending upon the child’s temperament, parenting may be shared on a reasonably equal basis.
- Daily telephone contact at a regular hour may be reassuring to both the child and the absent parent.
- Keeping a picture of the absent parent with the child in the child’s room.
- Children at this age do not have an adult’s concept of time. Frequent contact helps the parent and child establish and maintain a mutually supportive relationship.