Parenting plans play a key role in shared parenting. They may not be as easy to create when your child is infant aged. Infant and toddler years are those great physical and psychological development so making a parenting plan that works specifically for your baby is important. As you develop a parenting plan for your family, be sure to honestly assess your situation and look at it realistically. Doing this will help you make a plan that is most beneficial for your young child. Young children, infants and toddlers have specific needs,that need to be incorporated into your parenting plan. As you create a parenting plan for your baby, consider the following:
- The baby’s age and temperament. Does the baby adapt to new circumstances and change well? Are there any special needs the baby has? Is your baby being breastfed?
- The baby’s relationship with parents and other family members. Are there consistent visits to aunts, uncles or grandparents? Does the baby have older siblings and do they have a close or unique relationship? Are there any family members that babysit?
- Parents’ roles in taking care of the baby. Do both parents equally share the responsibilities of caring for the baby? Does one parent have primary care and residence?
- Parents’ work schedules and lifestyle routines. Does either parent travel as part of their job? Do both parents work or have extremely demanding work lives? Do both parents live in a stable home environment?
- Distance between homes and/or child care facilities. Are frequent visits realistic? Is there a way to make a beneficial transportation and exchange schedule?
- Communication between parents. Is a daily log about the developments and activities of the baby being kept by each parent?
A time schedule should be made that shows basic sleeping, waking and feeding schedules for the baby. Also keep in consideration whether the mother is breastfeeding. If this is the case, the father can still have regular visits with the baby. Both parents can agree to use formula as well as breast milk or the mother may send breast milk with the father during his visits. A parenting plan and schedule should be made to accommodate the baby’s needs.
Babies develop substantially between the ages of zero and 18 months so it is important that both parents share information about development. Both parents should keep a daily log about the baby’s developments activities. This log should include information about and changes in eating habits, including introduction of new foods; sleeping habits; and new skills learned like rolling over, walking or new words.