Tips for Co-Parenting Babies and Toddlers

Divorce is often difficult on children. When children are younger, it can be difficult to help them understand what is happening during a divorce. Even more critically, this youngest demographic tend to be the most strongly impacted by their parents divorcing. Thankfully, with a little conscious effort, you and your former spouse can put the needs of your infant or toddler first by focusing on successfully co-parenting your child. The two most critical issues for young children during divorce is reducing exposure to parental conflict and ensuring both parental relationships remain steady and positive.

Insulating Your Children from Conflict

It can damage the child-parent bond if your young children witness repeated, angry fights between their parents. While it can be difficult, you and your former spouse should commit to never discussing or arguing about your divorce when your children are present. Save it for discussion when your children are elsewhere. Even when you think they’re sleeping, your children could wake up and hear things you don’t want them to. Err on the side of caution.

Your children also shouldn’t have to listen to either of you air grievances about the other. No matter how frustrated you are, you shouldn’t tell your children about it. Rely on your adult relationships to blow off steam when you’re emotional about the divorce. Don’t expect your children to listen neutrally when you complain. Your harsh words could damage their relationship with your former spouse or make them feel angry at or scared of you.

Focus on Regularity and Attachment When Dividing Parenting Time

Your children need to keep developing a healthy bond and attachment with both of their parents. While a 50/50 division of parenting time may not be possible, it’s important to create a new routine that allows for time with each parent. In some cases, rotating weekends are ideal, with a few weeknight meals or visits can help ensure that the children are spending quality time with each parent. You may decide that alternating holidays or sharing holiday custody time as a family is the best solution. Just keep it stable and fair to everyone involved.

Regardless of what else is going on, you and your former spouse should agree to uphold and empower one another as parents. Part of that means committing to upholding visitation and parenting time as scheduled, unless there’s an actual emergency. Neither arguments about asset division nor issues with support should not interfere with parenting time for either parent. Your children need you to put their best interests first. The healthiest and most emotionally well-adjusted children have trusting and stable relationships with both of their parents from a young age.

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