Parenting time should not end when the sun goes down. Unfortunately, some people assume it should. Thus, it can be a battle to secure the right to have overnight parenting time (access) to your baby or toddler.
However, with legal support, you can work to secure a parenting plan that allows you to be with your child for longer periods. And when this happens, you want your house to be ready.
Safe and comfortable
The top priority of having your child overnight is to make sure they have a safe and comfortable space. Critical safety precautions can include:
- Having a separate room or space for the child
- Having an age-appropriate bed, whether that is a crib or toddler bed
- Removing unsafe items from in and around a bed (e.g., blankets or other suffocation hazards for infants and electrical cords or window blind cords near a child’s bed)
- Setting up an audio or video monitor next to your child’s bed
- Having a nightlight
- Blocking off areas you do not want your child to access alone, like bathrooms or closets
In terms of making things comfortable, parents can:
- Keep a security item in the home, like a special blanket or stuffed animal
- Practise a bedtime routine similar to the one they have with the other parent
- Decorate their space with some things they like, such as bedding with characters from their favourite show
- Have food they like (or need) on hand, including milk, formula or their favourite breakfast food
- Allow them to call the other parent before bed (depending on their age)
These tips can make your home feel comfortable and inviting for your child.
Overnight parenting time (access) can be a different experience than daytime periods, and it can come with unique challenges.
For instance, babies and young children often have sleep issues, like frequent wakings during the night and early rising. These can be problems for any child, whatever their living situation is.
If you are amicable with the other parent, talk to them about approaches to things like sleep training or co-sleeping to have direction during these transitions. Otherwise, consult a pediatrician or other professional if a child is experiencing sleep interruptions or regressions.
Overnight parenting time (access) can be beneficial for both parents and children. These tips can make it easier to enjoy this valuable time together.