In our last blog, we discussed the traditional view of timesharing for infants and toddles, but in increasingly in recent years, some mental health professionals are in agreement that overnight timesharing with infants and toddlers is a positive experience for both parents and the baby. These experts discredit the more traditional view that overnights should be delayed until the child is 2-4 years old.
Unlike the more traditional view that the primary caregiver/baby bonding is more important to maintain than the baby’s bond with the other parent, this viewpoint places equal importance on the baby bonding strongly with both parents. The critical goal is for the baby to establish close bonds with both parents, and this viewpoint maintains that overnight timesharing for both parents will best further this goal. This viewpoint also believes that the bonding that takes places between both parents and their baby sets the stage for the parent/child relationship for many years to come.
This approach to timesharing with a baby/toddler works best when the parents are able to maintain roughly consistent schedules and routines with the baby in each parent’s home. Good communication between the parents regarding the baby’s care and well-being is crucial since the baby/toddler is too young to speak up for him/herself. It is not uncommon for each parent to have different parenting styles, so it is important to remember that a baby can feel loved and nurtured by both parents in different ways.
Overall, mental health professionals agree that babies need to spend sufficient time with both parents to ensure a close, secure relationship with both parents. This type of timesharing schedule may vary with the circumstances of the parents and the needs of the particular baby. It may also be fluid over time, particularly the first two years. By working together, even though living apart, parents can decide together how to best foster this close bond, keeping in mind that the needs of the baby/toddler can be fluid during different developmental stages.
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