When you get a divorce but have young children, you might struggle to come up with a custody schedule that seems right for the situation. You and your spouse agree that having your children spend too much time apart from either parent isn’t in the best interests of your children, but you aren’t sure exactly how to work out a custody and visitation plan that makes sense, given your child’s age. You also have to consider work schedules and other obligations when finding a plan that is practical.

Fortunately, there is some research on this subject. Toddlers, in particular, do very well with predictable schedules. They need to see each parent regularly and have a stable routine between homes. If you plan to have multiple days between the transfer of custody, it may be a good idea to have the noncustodial parent call the child on their “off” days. That helps your children stay connected with you and with their other parent so that they continue to build strong relationships and bonds. 

The general consensus is that toddlers can be away from either parent for two to three days at a time. For example, you might have a schedule where you trade custody every two days or alternate every three days. You might have a 5-2 schedule, where one parent takes care of your children during the week and the other on the weekends, but if you do this, you should plan for a mid-week visit for the noncustodial parent. 

These are some ideas to think about if you’re making a custody plan for your toddler and aren’t sure where to begin. Toddlers can adjust to divorce, but you will need to create a custody schedule that is consistent and has regular visitation for both parents.