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The importance of routine and consistency in shared child custody

When separated or divorced parents share custody of their children, establishing a routine and maintaining consistency are crucial to ensuring their children’s well-being and nurturing their development.

Below are some reasons why routine and consistency are so important in shared child custody arrangements.

Provides stability

Separation and divorce can rattle a child’s sense of security. They may have constant bothersome thoughts, such as how their living situation and schooling will proceed moving forward. A consistent routine helps children feel more secure during the challenging time following their parents’ separation.

Sets clear expectations

After the separation, children might feel confused as to what rules to follow, especially in split households. Consistency in rules, discipline and schedules between households sets clear expectations, so children understand what is required of them, regardless of which parent they are with at the time.

Encourages parental cooperation

When parents work together to establish a consistent routine, it improves their communication as coparents and reduce conflicts, benefiting the children’s emotional environment. This also positively affects parents’ decision-making toward promoting their child’s best interests.

Promotes health and development

Consistent routines on meals, sleep and physical activity promote better health and well-being in children, which can particularly help them with cope during the stress of custody changes. Furthermore, it helps establish healthy habits, which form part of children’s cognitive, emotional and social development.

While these benefits are appealing, coparents must strive to communicate openly and work collaboratively to create a parenting plan that emphasizes consistency and routine to achieve them. This may involve compromise and flexibility, but the primary goal should always be the best interests of the children.

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