Being outnumbered three to one means it can be hard to find time to spend dedicated one-on-one time with my children.
I’m sure this situation is not unique to my household. Every family is busy, with their own relationship dynamics and competing demands on time.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the need to connect with each child sometimes gets overshadowed by other things. When you are with your children all the time, it can be easy to forget that they each have individual needs from you as a parent.
Raising kids isn’t a one size fits all situation and children are all different. Parenting en masse rarely facilitates the quality connections kids need on a regular basis to feel loved and treasured.
The benefits of one-of-one time with your children means that it is something that all parents should prioritise. By spending dedicated time with each child you are reinforcing the unique relationship you have with them and making them feel valued and important.
The time you spend with them doesn’t have to be lengthy or doing something expensive. Think quality over quantity when it comes to connecting with your child.
Here are some ideas on how to slot one-on-one time into a busy family life:
1. Take one child on errands.
Often all kids want is to be with us, even if we aren’t doing anything particularly special. I know my kids love to tag along to do the groceries or go to the post office, especially if their siblings aren’t there! They get a sense of “mum and me” even when undertaking the most mundane tasks.
2. Get them involved in projects at home.
Most of us have something on the go around the house and involving the kids can make them feel like their input is valued and it can be a great bonding opportunity. Even simple regular tasks such as cooking or other household chores can be time together well spent.
My eldest is far more interested in our chickens than his siblings. He helps me feed the chickens, check the eggs and in the afternoons he helps me put them back in their cage. After we do this we often stand outside watching the sunset and have a chat, just the two of us.
3. Seize opportunities.
There can be times where we are just with one child out of necessity or routine. We may be driving them to sports practice or taking them to an appointment. Use this time to reconnect and perhaps even extend it a little if you can.
If my boys have an appointment during the week, we try to grab a milkshake afterwards and have a chat before I take them back to school. Even though it’s only 20 minutes, the kids really love these milkshake dates (and I like to think its not just because of the milkshake).
4. Set a timer.
This is a great way to spend a dedicated amount of time with your child even when you are feeling time poor. It’s as easy as setting a timer for whatever time suits, even if its only 10 minutes, and then not letting any distractions interfere with that time. You may have a set activity or let your child choose.
The benefits of this method are that your child will love the novelty of the timer, it can be spontaneous and it can fit in around other commitments. For example, you might be waiting for dinner to finish cooking, so you can set the timer for 10 minutes and play a card game, dress dolls or have a one-on -one chat during this time.
5. Make a date.
Scheduling a date is a great way to ensure time is set aside to spend together. Your child will love the anticipation of the event and advance planning will allow you to organise your schedule and arrangements for any other children. Go to the movies, for a bike ride, out for a meal or even a walk around the block. It’s always just about being together.
Of course, these are just a few ideas for quality one-on-time with your children.
Keeping your relationship with your child healthy is an important part of raising happy, well-adjusted children. Regularly reaffirming your love and connection with your child is just as important as it is with any other relationship.