Assuming the infant is being cared for primarily in one parent’s home, the following are some examples of contacts by the non-residential parent.
BIRTH THROUGH AGE 6 MONTHS: Three non-consecutive days per week for two hours each day. Many infants take multiple naps and require feeding every three or four hours during the day. If at all possible, time with the nonresidential parent should aim at not disrupting the infant’s nap and feeding pattern.
AGE 7 MONTHS THROUGH 12 MONTHS: Three non-consecutive days per week for three hours each day. Overnight, if appropriate. If a parent has not been involved in care-giving previously, these short and frequent visits will help to develop a mutually secure relationship and allow the parent to master the tasks and sensitivity required to care for an infant. As the care-giving skills are mastered, the parent-child bond strengthens and the time with the infant may increase.
AGE 13 MONTHS THROUGH AGE 18 MONTHS: Three non-consecutive days each week for three-four hours each day. One weekend day for up to eight hours. Overnight, if appropriate. Children at this age still require a predictable and consistent daily routine. Communication between the parents about the infant’s routine and any new developments is essential to enhance the infant’s adjustment.
AGE 19 MONTHS THROUGH 36 MONTHS: One weekend day for ten hours. One mid-week for three hours. Overnight, if appropriate. Children of this age go through many changes, such as weaning from the bottle, toilet training, beginning pre-school, and adjusting to new siblings. Parents should avoid choosing a plan that requires the child to change routines frequently.
For further information, visit the Los Angles County Superior Court Website at: http://www.lacourt.org/selfhelp/familiesandchildren/pdf/parentingunder3.pdf