The ages of 6 to 12 are some of the most beautiful in a child's life. As a parent, you can watch your child discover his or her likes, dislikes and interests. You might even delight in watching your child develop a passion for a new hobby that he or she carries along into adulthood.
Just because your child is in a wonderful time of his or her development, however, does not mean that everything will be going perfectly between you and your spouse. You may find that divorce is necessary during this time in your child's life, and that means you'll need to develop a parenting plan so that both you and your ex can raise your child -- separately and also as a team.
Keep this in mind when creating your child custody plan
For a child between the ages of 6 and 12, parents should keep a few things in mind about their child's needs and characteristics when creating a parenting and custody plan:
- When children are between the ages of six and 12, they can better handle extended separations between seeing each parent. As such, school-aged children, who are having fun during the day with their friends and other activities, might do well with an every-other-week plan or another kind of arrangement that involves longer periods between contact.
- School-aged kids cope better with living in two separate homes, so a 50-50 split in parenting time could be more doable at this age.
- You and your spouse could succeed with two different parenting styles. There is less need for exact congruence between parenting techniques at this age.
- Between 6 and 12, children are flexible in their mentality and development. This gives parents more options in terms of parenting plans.
- Give your child plenty of stimulation to try new things during this age. Allow your child to do activities outside of his or her home -- sporting activities, artistic endeavors, hobbies and other extracurricular activities are great.
- Both parents should be involved in the child's schooling, as this will help children achieve more in school. If there's a parent-teacher meeting, both you and the other parent should attend together.
Discover more about your child's unique development needs
Ask your child lots of questions to learn more about what he or she likes, dislikes and needs to be happy. In addition to general parenting strategies and information, knowing your child's needs -- and balancing them with the needs of you and your ex -- will help you find the most appropriate parenting plan to suit your family's situation.