A Parenting Schedule that “makes sense”.


Children in two homes can thrive if the parents can work together to meet their needs.

When discussing Parenting schedules, I start off by asking parents to tell me about their child—describe their personality, likes, dislikes, sensitivities, how they deal with change, how they experience the world…the list goes on.

Everything that is discussed around parenting should incorporate the perspective of a child.   For example, a child who is more reserved, takes time when change is presented, finds comfort in his/her surroundings, may find transitions very difficult.  Finding strategies to help with the transitions is important and should be discussed and incorporated into a parenting schedule.  I often say to parents, “your child needs to get grounded before they can fully engage, so we need to figure out ways to do so, that would help your child.”

Often times, parents come in trying to fit the child in their schedule, which can be very stressful.  Parents need to understand that children have a different understanding of what is “fair”.  Parents will often ask for equal time because it is the “fair” thing to do.  The question is, “fair to whom?”  Kids do not divide their love for parents on a 50/50 basis.  Kids often say that living with each of their parents equally has nothing to do with how much they love them.  Having said that, a 50/50 schedule can work for some children, but it should not be a formula.

Children should not just “tolerate” the schedule, but rather we should be designing a schedule the “makes sense” to the child so s/he can thrive.

My dad used to tell me that a child was like a plant, starting off as a seed and depending on the amount of sun, water and the soil’s richness, the seed will either flourish into a beautiful strong flower or wither. Depending on the species of the plant, it may require full sun light versus partial.  This applies to the schedule.  Some children, depending on age and temperament may require more access time with a parent that s/he is craving.

Perhaps calling it a “child’s schedule” instead of a “parenting schedule” is more appropriate. When figuring out a schedule that works for your family, take a moment and imagine what it feels like for your child.  Now, imagine if there is conflict between you and the other parent, there is another layer your child has to negotiate.

As parents, we can do a lot for our children so they can thrive in two homes. Creating a schedule that “makes sense” from the child’s perspective, and supporting the other parent is an excellent start.