ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Effective Parenting Plans Address Children's Developmental Needs

Updated on January 12, 2012

Most of the guidelines for creating an effective parenting plan advise you to consider your children’s developmental needs. Courts make decisions about custody based on what they feel is in the children’s best interest.

But what exactly are a child’s developmental needs? Once you understand some of the basic physical and emotional contributions to healthy childhood development, you can make a successful parenting plan that will enhance growth instead of hinder it.

Studies on healthy growth and development for children can give separating parents insight into what is best for children when it comes to a parenting plan. This overview highlights some of the most critical factors to help you create a parenting plan with the best chance of success.

With an effective parenting plan in place for everyone to follow, you’ll have the best chance of success in raising healthy, well-adjusted children.
With an effective parenting plan in place for everyone to follow, you’ll have the best chance of success in raising healthy, well-adjusted children. | Source

Infants (Birth to 12 months) As long as both parents are skilled in all aspects of childcare, such as diapering and feeding, infants should receive frequent, repeated contact with both parents. Stable routines are critical for infant development. Avoid keeping the infant away from the primary caregiver for more than a few hours when very young, and no more than a day for older babies. Parenting plans should allow plenty of time for both parents to participate in caring for the infant, in order to develop trust.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years) Because toddlers naturally resist transitions, make them as infrequent as you can and as smooth as possible. Minimal overnight visits work best with toddlers, especially when they are spaced apart. Toddlers can enjoy regular phone calls with the absent parent to maintain contact. Childrne at this age thrive on predictable and consistent routines, so keep similar schedules and habits between the two households.

Preschool (3 to 5 years) Visitations can be longer depending on the children’s temperament, but preschoolers still need firm boundaries on rules and behavior. Consistency is beneficial for preschoolers, as is parental guidance for independence on things like dressing themselves and small chores. Avoid keeping preschoolers away from a parent for more than a few days, and continue with regular phone contact for the absent parent.

Early School (5 to 9) Outside activities take up more of the early school child’s time, such as for sports or music. Parents must be extra flexible to accommodate the increased social interaction. Your parenting plan should allow for your child to explore these options. Balance between school, play and family time is critical for early school children. Increasing self-awareness and independence means they can have more frequent overnights as long as ­­­­­­­school and homework are not at risk.

Pre-teen (8 to 12) Meaningful contact with both parents is sometimes more important than frequency at this age. Friends and extracurricular activities remain important for healthy social development. Pre-teens can handle a variety of parenting plans and schedules as long as there is structure and consistency. Overnights work when transfers are highly organized and efficient, especially on school nights. House rules about chores, discipline and boundaries should be consistent and parents may note that pre-teens have opinions on what is working as far as scheduling.

Children are generally better off when they have two parents actively participating in their lives, regardless of whether those parents are together.
Children are generally better off when they have two parents actively participating in their lives, regardless of whether those parents are together. | Source

Early Teen (13 to 15) As early teens grow even more independent, they can handle a range of schedules and parenting plans. Parental support and stability are important for the often turbulent adolescent years. Frequent communication with both parents is important and parents need to keep each other informed about their children’s activities. Children need time for socializing, whether it is structured or unstructured, and may desire longer stays with each parent to establish a home base in their busy lives. 

Late Teen (16 to 18) The parenting plan becomes more of a three-way decision process as late teens should be consulted about key aspects of the parenting plan. Jobs, dating, friends, extracurricular activities and increased school participation make a late teen’s life very busy, so parents must ensure that they are giving solid communication and constant support. Meaningful family time is still important, as teenagers still need guidance and input from caring parents.

Because children grow and change, your parenting plan should be revised over the years to meet their developmental needs. Plan regular intervals where you and the other parent can discuss which parts of the parenting plan are working and which areas are no longer effective.

It helps to keep a parenting journal to track the day-to-day and week-to-week issues that arise. Use custody software like Custody X Change, which comes with a simple parenting journal feature that you can print out into a report. A parenting journal can be invaluable when it comes to assessing how the parenting plan works.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)