Benifits of Overnights at 18 Months

Updated on July 07, 2016
D.M. asks from Brandon, FL
19 answers

I was wondering if anyone could help point me in the way of the benefits of a 1 1/2 year old getting overnights with his father. I have been excited about getting my son for overnights but can't seem to help his mother understand why it would benefit him to stay with me. I have waited for him to get him to turn a year and a half understanding the emotional bond that he needed to create with his mother. That's all I have been able to find information on so far in my research.

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So What Happened?

I'm still trying to get the hang of your guy's website. I am unsure of how to reply to the comments. So to answer some question... I am a 25 year old Veteran that was left by my son's mother when she was 5 months pregnant. I have been to court since the day I found out my son was born. (she wasn't even going to tell me). I did find one document written and edited by 300 child phycologists and pedestrians stating that it is beneficial to have over nights with both parents from day one and it goes on to talk about A LOT of topics regarding shared parenting. Its quit a large file. I do currently have court orders letting me have my son every Mon, Wed, Fri for 5 hours. The judge won't give me "first right of refusal" so I can have my son while his mom is at work. The judge doesn't want to hear why I want my son he wants to hear why it's beneficial for my son to stay overnight with me, and "because I am his father and it would allow future overnights" is not an "acceptable answer.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The child needs to experience "living with" his father as opposed to "visiting" his father. The child needs an emotional bond with father just as he does with mother. Aside from that it is a good idea for kids to experience overnights just so that they learn some independence and to be flexible. The ability to sleep away from home is a good skill to develop. The child will be more adaptable and do better in situations such as sleepovers with friends and summer camps and school trips.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Personally I think you should have been getting overnights from the start. It is important for the child to bond with both parents and the special treatment we give mothers is harmful to the children in the end. She needs to start thinking about what is best for the child, not just herself.

As for the judge I would consider telling him it is beneficial for the same reasons it has been beneficial to be with mom, bonding time and getting to know each other. You are his father and you want to be a full part of his life.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

The benefit is that, at any age, a child should get to spend time with their father. You have waited until now so that he could create the emotional bond with his mom; now it's time for him to create an emotional bond with you. A boy needs a father and he needs to build a relationship and trust with you now so that he knows you'll be there for him in the future. It is just as important for him to bond with you as with her.

It's going to be very hard for her to feel comfortable with it, simply because no mom wants to give up her child for the night if it isn't her choice to do so. Tell her she can check in a couple of times if needed or that you're willing to send her pictures, updates, etc to help make her feel more comfortable and less upset from wondering what her baby is doing without her.

Do you have a legal custody agreement that entitles you to overnights? Do you have a custody agreement that does not include any overnights at all? Maybe it is time to rethink the current agreement and create one that satisfies both of you.

I say everything above with the assumption that you have been an involved and caring father up to this point. However, if you haven't taken an active role in your son's life up until now, then you'll need to establish some consistency and trust with his mom before you can expect her to let you take your son overnight.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

D., YOU are the benefit. You don't need a long list of reasons to convince her. Your child needs a dad in his life. You're not a babysitter or an uncle. You're dad. Your influence and relationship with him is every bit as valuable as his mom's.

You don't need to argue this. If the court order says you get overnights....take them. And if it doesn't, go hire an attorney to get modification and get more time with your son.

Best of luck to you.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You don't say what your legal situation is and whether you already have a visitation schedule in place that the child's mother is ignoring. If you do and if she's not adhering to it, you can file a contempt complaint; you can request that she cover your expenses and court costs. That may be enough to motivate her. If you have an informal arrangement and the child's mother set 18 months as the dividing line and is now hesitating, then you need to go to court to get a better agreement.

I don't see why you should have to research the issue to prove why children should spend time with both parents. Short of a nursing infant or a child with some specific medical needs that make shifting back and forth a hazard, or short of a father with some sort of legal or criminal or behavior issue, there should be no discussion. You have to have a crib and safety precautions in place (gates, cabinet locks, that sort of thing), but I'm assuming you do.

It shouldn't be hard to argue (and hopefully you wouldn't have to document) that:
- children do better if they have loving relationships with both parents (which is why courts routinely give shared custody)
- children do better if they develop a self-confidence and can go to sleep in different places put to bed by different people: babysitters at either home, vacation/hotel cribs, grandparents' house, and so on.
- children do better if they are secure in the knowledge that multiple people love and care for them, so they are not insecure when the primary caregiver is absent (illness, in a hospital giving birth to a subsequent child, traveling for business, off on a fun weekend...the list is endless).
- children who cannot separate from Mom or Dad don't do well in other situations - babysitters, grandparents, preschool, kindergarten, Cub Scout camp-outs, sleepovers with friends. Waiting until a child is 2 or 4 or 7 or 12 to allow overnights just prolongs the learning process.

Your child needs you.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!

Seriously - that was all you came up with? What search terms did you use? I came up with over a hundred hits with "benefits of children bonding with father". So this tells me that you are most likely a troll or not truly serious about being a father. this is something that SHOULD have been taking place from the beginning...not at 18 months.

Okay - so mom MIGHT not want to have an infant go on an overnight while the baby is still breast feeding - she could still pump. Eighteen months isn't some magical point in his life.

How old are you?
WHY have you waited 18 months?
What does your lawyer say?
What do your parents say?
what does your court order state?

You sound like a 19 year old who still lives with his parents, sorry if that's rude - but really? BOTH parents should be bonding with their child from the beginning. Doesn't matter if you two don't get along - you should be able to be decent to each other in front of your child. If you can't do that? You both need counseling.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The benefit is that your son is your son and you and he have as much of a right for time together as he and his mom have. Parenting overnight gives you and him more time together, which is good for your child. You are not a baby-sitter or a visitor, you are his father, and that comes with the right/responsibility to really parent him, which includes overnights. You should feed him, bathe him, put him to bed, wake up with him, give him breakfast and start your day together from time to time, just like he does with his mother.

Frankly, the mother is being controlling and there is no reason for it. It doesn't take 18 months to bond with a child. My husband had his daughter for overnights starting in infancy. I don't recall the exact age as I didn't meet him until she was three, but he was a hands-on, overnight parent on weekends from about 6 months onward.

if you have a court order and she isn't following it, take her back to court for enforcement. If you don't have an order, get one. You need to assert yourself as your son's father.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

You really don't give much information to go on here.
If baby is still nursing then no, overnights at this age are not appropriate and unfair to the baby.
Have you given the mother reason for concern about allowing baby to spend the night with you? If so you need to work on yourself and whatever issues there may be.
I will be totally honest here. There are more than enough ways to bond with and love your baby without overnights. The same goes with there being more than enough ways to bond with and love a newborn baby without forcing mama to pump and give you a bottle to feed them.
Wait until your child is older for overnights and make the most of the daytime hours you have with him

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Do you have custody rights or visitation rights through the courts?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest you tell her you understand how difficult it is for her to not have him at home. Mother's really do have difficulty letting their baby become more independent of.them. I suggest she isn't responding to you telling her how beneficial it will be for your son because that is not the reason she doesn't want him to stay overnight.

She is too anxious to let go of nights with her. She feels that you don't understand which makes her less likely to let him stay with you. I suggest you briefly sympathize with her. Don't tell her how she feels. Just say you know this change is difficult for her. Do this a couple of times without asking for overnights. Then ask her if there might be a way to make this more comfortable for her. Suggest a compromise. Let her "run the show" so she will feel more in control. Above all, do not plead or whine. Act as if you know she will come around. Give her time to decide. Do not ask everytime you see her. Only ask in person. Wait a month or so before expecting results.

18 months is not too young for overnights. Both of my older grandchildren stayed with me overnight at times from a few months on. My youngest granddaughter, at 2 1/2, started asking to stay overnight. Perhaps his mother would be able to consider it in the future.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You lost me on the part about doing research ...

I don't get the emotional bond taking a year and a half with his mother either.

Another one of these questions I'm wondering - is someone doing research for a paper?

Isn't this kind of thing determined in custody arrangements?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, most of the divorced couples I know that had smaller kids, unless mom was totally breastfeeding, got to go overnight with dad right off. Dad is just as capable of feeding his child a bottle all hours of the day and night. Dad is just as capable of bonding with the child as the mom and they can darn sure change a diaper if they can be a parent.

So talk to your attorney and get your visitation fixed. You should have just as much time with your own child as anyone else.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You need to have a legal and binding agreement in place, and you need to be truly committed to being a father. Being "excited" about overnights is fine but really what your child needs is a lifelong, consistent visitation schedule and of course financial support as well. It won't be easy at first but as long as you are CONSISTENT and loving with him (even when it's hard) then he will adjust, as children of divorce do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Is beneficial for children to have two parents (I am sure you can find studies documenting this). It is of benefit for your son to have his father be a full participant in his life - including changing diapers, cooking, feeding him and doing all the everyday things that parents do. It will help him know what a father is and does because someday he will likely be one. Children with a close early relationship with a father have fewer later problems with discipline and school (and probably many other issues - google is your friend here). I don't see how a child can develop a true parent/child relationship with an adult who doesn't do the basics - not just have fun visits. Good luck - your ex is being extremely selfish.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I have been thinking about this question all day... I can't think of any reason that a child of that age would benefit in any way by inconsistencies at bed time and that is what this would be. Whether it was every other night at aunt sues or every weekend with daddy, it is my opinion that children do better with a consistency of sleeping in their own beds. I definitely think you should have time to be with your child during their waking hours to establish a relationship. But I can't support you on this one.

And for what it's worth if the father had primary custody and the mother wanted over nights at this age I would say no to that as well.

If I ran the world not until 5 years old on a consistent basis...every once in a while the kid would survive but it wouldn't be in the child's best interest.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

When the baby was younger, it made sense for him to stay with mom, especially if she was nursing. But as he gets older, having overnights with you should be fine.

What is in your custody agreement with the court? If you have overnight visitation, then you need to tell her that you will be keeping your son overnight. If you don't, then talk to your attorney about going back to court. Make it so that she has to pay her own court and attorney costs. Then maybe she'll be more willing to work with you instead of having to go back to court.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Honestly at 18 months my children were at an age where they really wanted mama. They would have been terrified if I had dropped them off with someone else now and then. I realize you are not just someone else, you are dad. But some kids will go through a phase where they have separation anxiety from mom and dad just does not cut it! My kids both did. I would have to physically leave the house when he put them to bed sometimes and they would cry for me. Or he would tell them I was away at a "meeting" when really I was there in another room. They quickly outgrew this...but I think it's pretty common at that age. Personally I would start off bonding during the day with your 18 month old for now. Talk to your ex about what date to start doing overnights so she can mentally prepare herself...pick a date such as 6 months from now. Show your son his room at your house and you can talk about how he will sleep there when he gets a little bigger. Try to make it similar to his bedroom at home. Keep the same bedtime routine and have the time he goes to bed be the same time as at his mom's house. Have bedtime stories, a nightlight, a nice soft blanket and some stuffed animals. Don't be alarmed if he wants mom and cries for her when he finally does sleep over. Be patient and loving. Make it a fun, safe and comforting place. You and your ex need to be on the same page, communicate well with each other, and be able to plan things for your son together without any bitterness/arguing. You will need to put your son first for the next 17+ years and learn to get along and work together.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Our son was 9 yrs old before he did any over nights and that was a lock down at taekwondo with all his friends.
Up till then he wanted to be in his own room in his own bed with me and Daddy nearby.
When I was growing up slumber parties were for teens - we stayed up all night doing hair and nails and talking about boys.
Now if this is a custody situation, I don't know what to tell you.
What exactly do you think an overnight with a toddler is going to be like?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

First of all, thank you for your service!
As far as how overnights with you, the biological father, would benefit your son, the answers are numerous. Your child needs to be able to bond with YOU as well as Mom. You need to be able to experience and do things with your child that a few hours a day will not accomplish, such as reading bedtime stories, bathing, being there if he wakes at night to reassure him that he is safe with you AS WELL as Mom. Also, the benefit of a good relationship and close bond of the parent of same sex children is huge. Your son needs YOU, the man in his life, as a role model. Yes, he needs his Mom too, and I applaud your understanding of wanting him to bond with his Mother too.
One other thing you may want to mention is that an overnight with YOU can also have huge benefits for Mom. As a Mother of 4, ages 13 to 26, I can tell you that being a full time Mom is EXHAUSTING. What I wouldn't have given for an overnight break, time to recharge, to get some extra sleep, not to have to be responsible for another person for a day, to eat a hot meal peacefully, the list goes on. Also, this time away will also allow the bond for Mother and son to get stronger, as the child learns that he can function without Mom, and the Mom gets to miss her child. We are talking about an overnight, and with his Dad, not a stranger.Your son's confidence and self worth will be amazingly high knowing that being seperated from Mom for a night isn't the end of the world, and that his Dad wants to spend time with him just as much as his Mom.
I wish you the best, and honestly believe that one day in the near future, your son's Mother will be looking forward to these overnight breaks. Best of luck to you!

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