Telephone contact for young children is always problematic even if ordered or agreed. Trying to get young children to speak on the phone can be almost impossible and the parent requesting contact must reconcile themselves to the fact that it probably will only be an opportunity to say goodnight and I love you. However for young children, that brief contact by telephone can be very important in maintaining links between face to face to contacts, especially if they are weeks apart. Where distance has been a real issue I have know the Court order telephone contact for children as young as 2 years. The parent with care is often concerned about impact on routine and feeling that their day to day life is restricted by the need to be available for telephone calls. I think one call per week on a set day when the parent with care is usually home is worth a try but parents will need to be realistic – it won’t be a half an hour call. Bedtime can be disruptive so try just after dinner for example. 5pm or 5.30pm can work. Try not to worry too much about the effect on routine – these calls will be very short – but the parent calling should try to be prompt always. Webcams can also be a useful tool for indirect contact as they allow non verbal as well as verbal communication and can put less pressure on the parent with care to facilitate the call.
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