When you and your child's other parent are no longer together, it is a great idea to create a parenting plan to organize custody and visitation time. A parenting plan is a document that specifically sets out when the child will be with each parent. It also describes how significant decisions about the child will be made, such as healthcare, education, and religion.
Although some former couples may be able to fully parent their children without the need for an outlined and documented plan, it's a great tool to have in place just in case there is a problem down the road.
Parents often disagree about many decisions regarding their children, and that conflict often increases when the parents are not in the same household. Parenting plans create solutions to some of those conflicts before they even arise. There are many benefits of having a parenting plan in place.
1. Set Schedules Create Consistency
Children often thrive on set schedules. They do better from a psychological and growth standpoint if they know what will happen next and have expectations about where they will be on a particular day. Children feel stable and secure when they have consistent care as well.
2. Planning Ahead
Having a parenting plan in place sets out specifically where the child will be and when. Both the parents and the child can rely on that schedule for planning purposes and can take comfort in knowing exactly what will happen next. Simply knowing the child’s schedule will allow parents to plan their lives effectively as well.
3. Less Communication is Sometimes a Good Thing
A parenting plan allows the parents to plan without actually having to communicate with one another regularly. Each one knows the plan, and, as long as it is followed, parents will not have to make other arrangements. This factor is particularly relevant for high-conflict couples who struggle to negotiate anything on their own.
4. Involvement with Both Parents is Healthy
Children often struggle with divorce and sometimes think that they are the reason their parents are no longer together. Having both parents in their lives shows the child that they are loved, safe, and cared for. Creating a parenting plan that involves both parents is often good for the growth and development of the child, particularly at younger ages.
5. Cooperation is Key
The parenting plan can act as a springboard for collaboration and discussion between parents. An agreement on the parenting plan usually means that parents are more likely to cooperate as their child grows. Children are more likely to thrive when their parents work with one another as well. Children that experience ongoing conflict may suffer long-term emotional problems.
Creating a parenting plan is not always an easy task. Having an experienced professional to help you create a parenting plan is a good idea. Contact us, we specialize in helping families this way.