Family mediation is essential for parents who are transitioning to co-parenting, and creating a parenting schedule is a crucial part of that process. Picking a routine that works for your family requires considering many aspects of your children's schedules, such as school events, medical appointments, extracurricular activities, holidays, and bedtimes. As a parent, you know your children's needs better than anyone else, so crafting a routine that caters to those needs should be the priority.
There is no one-size-fits-all parenting schedule, but there are some common rotations that parents use that cater to different family situations. The following parenting time routines are commonly used and can help you pick a routine for your family.
A biweekly routine allows children to spend one week living with each parent, which can be a good fit for older children with busier schedules or when parents live far apart. The exchange of parenting time could happen in the middle of the week or on the weekend, but it's crucial to agree on a time for exchanging the kids between homes. This routine can create long stretches of parenting time, so some families integrate a mid-week visit or overnight with the other parent to avoid going a full week without seeing their children.
Schedules with a 2-2-3 rotation enable parents to split time with their children 50/50. In each routine, each parent has their children for a couple of days, and then the kids go to be with the other parent for a couple of days, and the cycle continues from there. In a 2-2-3 routine, children are with one parent for two days, then with the other parent for two days, followed by a 3-day weekend with the first parent. From there, the routine flips, and the other parent has the children for two days, and the cycle continues. While this routine offers frequent parenting time exchanges, it can be challenging for parents who live far apart, and children who have difficulty with frequent transitions may struggle.
2-2-5-5 and 3-3-4-4 routines are 50/50 schedules that also allow parents and children to spend regular days together throughout the week. For example, a 2-2-5-5 routine requires a child to be with one parent Monday and Tuesday, with the other parent Wednesday and Thursday, then back with the first parent for five full days from Friday to Tuesday. From there, the routine flips, and the other parent has the children. In this routine, children are with the same parent consistently Monday through Thursday while weekends are a variable. 3-3-4-4 routines create similar consistency by placing children within the same house on regular days of the week.
Not every family divides parenting time evenly, and in this case, the home of the custodial parent is where the children live most of the time, while the other parent spends time with them during mid-day visitations or short overnights. Popular parenting schedules for non-50/50 rotations include alternating weekends where the children spend every other weekend with their other parent and return to their primary home on Sunday. Some families also incorporate a mid-week visitation or overnight to ensure that children spend some time with their other parent during the week.
Family mediation is a crucial process for parents who are transitioning to co-parenting, and creating a parenting schedule is a fundamental part of that process. It is essential to pick a routine that works for your family, and this requires considering many aspects of your children's schedules, such as school events, medical appointments, extracurricular activities, holidays, and bedtimes. The Family Mediation Trust can provide guidance and support to help parents navigate this process and reach an agreement that works best for everyone involved.
Additionally, there are several tools available to help parents select and manage the right routine for their children. One such tool is Our Family Wizard, a co-parenting app that provides a central location for scheduling, communication, and information sharing. This app can work alongside mediation to help parents create and manage their parenting schedule, as well as keep track of important events and appointments.
By using tools like Our Family Wizard, parents can reduce the potential for miscommunication and conflict, and ensure that their children's needs are prioritised. When used in conjunction with family mediation, these apps can help facilitate a smoother transition to co-parenting and create a more stable and positive environment for everyone involved.
Every family is unique, and attending to the needs of your children when it comes to parenting schedules is crucial. However, there may be jobs or other life variables that you cannot readily adjust to achieve a regular parenting schedule. In these situations, communication is vital. Keep in touch with your children if you cannot readily be available to visit