Parents of these early adolescents should consider the child’s schedule and commitments, distance between the parents’ homes, each parent’s work schedule or other obligations, the child’s temperament and wishes, and recognition of a teen’s need for unstructured time.
Although many different plans may work for children of this age, some options include:
- Alternating seven-day periods with or without mid-week time.
- Alternating long weekends with or without mid-week time.
- Providing a home base for the child with some time with the non-residential parent during the week and on weekends.
This is a time when children may articulate a desire for a home base because of the growing importance of their own network and outside activities. Both parents can increase contact through regular attendance at the child’s athletic, performance, academic or other activities. This allows for maximum parental involvement in activities important in the child’s life.