What Are the Best Parenting Schedules for Toddlers

7 Great Toddler Parenting Schedules for Separated or Divorcing Parents

Here are the 7 Best Parenting Schedules for Toddlers

Parenting schedules for toddlers will change significantly depending on how bonded the toddler is to one or both parents and how that bonding changes with time.

The parenting schedule must focus on the toddler's best interest and bring predictability and consistency. Toddlers thrive on each of these because they bring them comfort and security and reduce anxiety.

Let's get into the parenting schedules. After discussing the schedule, we will discuss the important factors parents must consider when choosing a schedule.

The Parenting Schedules for Toddlers

Here are seven common parenting schedules for toddlers. These schedules for toddlers go from less time to more time for Parent A, depending on the level of bonding Parent A has with the toddler and the toddler getting older. The more bonded, the greater the time for Parent A. The older the toddler, the more the parenting time may increase.

Parent A has:

  • Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Parent B has all other times.

Parent A has:

  • Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
  • Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Parent B has all other times.

Parent A has:

  • Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from noon to Sunday 5:00 p.m.

Parent B has all other times.

Parent A has:

  • Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Parent B has all other times.

Parent A has:

  • Tuesday noon to Wednesday noon
  • Thursday noon to Friday noon
  • Saturday noon to Sunday noon

Parent B has all other times.

Alternating every two days.

  • Monday noon to Wednesday noon
  • Wednesday noon to Friday noon
  • Friday noon to Sunday noon
  • Sunday noon to Tuesday noon
  • Tuesday noon to Thursday noon
  • Thursday noon to Saturday noon
  • Saturday noon to Monday noon

2-2-3 schedule. This is an equal parenting schedule and intended for older toddlers. Check out our article on 50/50 custody schedules.

The toddler's bonding with one or both parents is essential to the schedule

Graphic of a toddler holding a calendar

Bonding refers to the trust the toddler has with each parent. That trust is their security and comfort.

For this reason, toddlers should not spend too much time away from either parent, especially from a more bonded parent. Since toddlers do not understand time like older children, they need frequent and consistent contact with both parents. Long absences cause separation anxiety and significantly reduce their comfort level.

Separation anxiety usually peaks between fifteen to twenty-four months of age. The process should become easier once toddlers pass that age, and longer absences will usually become more manageable.

Co-parenting for parents with a toddler

Co-parenting is essential to good parenting of a toddler. Open communication about the toddler's needs and flexibility, as well as sharing information about diet, health, daily routines, likes and dislikes, and more, will make any parenting schedule more manageable.

Smooth and friendly transitions

First-time parents sometimes overreact to a crying child during a transition to the other parent. Crying is normal during separation. That is why it is important that the transition happens quickly and that both parents cooperate and be amicable during the process.

When a toddler transitions from one parent's house to the other, that transition can be anxiety-inducing until they get used to it. Having a routine for goodbyes and hellos (and not one drawn out), keeping emotions in check (a toddler does not do well when parents look or act emotional), and transitional toys (something that travels with the toddler) work well.

Developmental milestones can change the schedule

It is a mistake to be inflexible as the toddler gets older. As toddlers age, the schedule should change to fit their needs. Naps are a great example. They are important at the outset, but once a toddler no longer needs two naps, transitions to one, and eventually does not need one, that can modify a custody schedule.

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