One of the biggest changes when you have second, third or more children is that you have less time to spend one-to-one with each child. Yet that really is the time that our children crave. When we spend one-to-one time with each child, we really get to know them. We can talk to them without the distraction or the competition from other children. They can feel more valued and more respected. I honestly believe that it is so important to spend one-to-one time with each child.
I think it’s helpful to be really intentional about one-to-one time, and to plan it into our time. So often, this time really has to be carved out, protected and fought for. It’s so important, we need to make it a real priority. Here’s my guide to making the most of those opportunities for one-to-one time with each child.
Task One: Look for daily opportunities
In an ideal world, we would make sure we had opportunities to sit and talk with each child, one to one, every single day. This won’t happen unless we make sure it happens.
Have a look at your routines. Is there any way you can make sure you spend a bit of quality time with each child individually, every day? Perhaps it’s a book that you read together, a song you listen to or a prayer you say at the end of the day.
Task Two: Look for weekly opportunities
One of my favourite times of the week is a Saturday morning. I take my eldest son swimming. It’s pretty much the only thing I do with him, without his brother or my husband.
Since he started school, I’ve found I don’t get much time with my eldest. Yet we both really enjoy the time we spend together. I’ve definitely come to treasure that time.
So this week, try to find one thing that you can do, one-to-one with each child, every week. It might be an activity, but it might also be a regular half-hour building Lego or painting.
Task Three: Establish a special evening once a month
Once a month, perhaps on the “birth date” for each child (i.e., the 4th of each month if your child is born on 4th August), let them stay up a little bit later, or choose what’s for dinner, or chose a game to play.
This is a great way to make each child feel a little bit special. We have ‘Family Fun Night,’ which generally involves a DVD and ice cream.
Task Four: Remind Yourself
Put reminders in your phone, for your child’s special night. Mark your time with each child onto your daily routines planner. I know this sounds a bit like overkill, but I know what life in a busy household can be like. A month will go by and you’ll miss it, and before you know it, all your good intentions fall by the wayside. So put the reminder in your phone and you won’t miss it.