It can be hard to find individual time with your kids, but it’s possible. Here are some easy ways to find that time to help your children flourish.
Do you have a friend who really stands out and commands attention in a group?
What about a friend who fades into the background and is almost forgotten in a group?
Or are you that person?
Have you ever thought that within your family there is also a group dynamic that is very different from a one-on-one dynamic?
This is the reason that individual time is so important. Honestly, some children only come alive when you get them alone and give them time.
Spending time with your children individually is so very important, and when done regularly will reap many benefits for them, you, and your relationship together.
We all know… life happens
Spending time with each child may be difficult when you have quite a few children and you are a busy and tired mom.
The more kids you have, the more difficult this is and you don’t need to feel like all you’re doing is trying to find big portions of time to spend with each child.
Without further ado, scroll down and find easy ways to give your children individual attention without having to go on dates every other day to fit it all in.
What One-On-One Time With You Does For Your Kids
Truly, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think, and here are some reasons it really helps kids.
1. Individual time will strengthen your bond
Have you ever had a great friend you never spent time alone with?
Of course not.
Why? Well, because you get to be best friends with someone by spending a lot of time together, and much of that time will be alone. It will be the same with your children.
Group dynamics are different from one-on-one dynamics, and when you are alone with one child they will have your undivided attention.
They’ll also share things with you they wouldn’t share in a group.
Read: 9 Reasons Why Cuddling Your Kids Makes Life Better
2. It may cut back on attention-getting behavior
Children often act out in an attempt to get attention. Even my 3-year-old will try to get a compliment if I give one to his baby brother. “Wow, what a good clapper you are, little man!”
Then he’ll start to clap or dance and say “mommy, clapping, good job?“
It is built in our children to desire admiration and love from their parents. Spending time alone with each child will help to fill up their love tanks and there will be less of a need to fight for your attention.
Read: 3 Simple Keys To Understanding Your Child’s Emotional Needs
3. It will build self-esteem and worth in shyer, less outgoing children
If you are a more shy and quiet person, particularly in a crowd, you will relate to this. If people only knew you as “one of the crowd” would they know the real you?
Quiet or shy children may just blend in and be content to go unnoticed beside their more outgoing and flamboyant siblings.
By singling out your quiet child (and each child in the family in their own turn) you’ll show them that you are willing to take the time to draw them out of their shell.
Read: 35 Simple Ways To Love Your Child In Everyday Life
4. It communicates directly to your child that you value their needs and desires
If you spend a Saturday with one child every month (or at whatever frequency works for your family) this is a great time to go and do whatever is on their heart.
Does your son love all things space? Why not take him to a museum, exhibit or park specifically oriented to his current phase? This will particularly be special for him because you two being alone means no one else (another sibling trying to complain about something) is there to say his idea is stupid, no fun, or uncool.
Each child is different and this can be a time to embrace their individual differences and really help them to feel at home with you when they are in their element.
Read: Relationship Building Questions To Ask Kids (With Printable!)
5. It may be the only way to really get to know your child
At the dinner table you may have one or two who steer the conversation. They always have a funny story, joke or topic of conversation ready.
That is not bad in itself, of course, but it may often leave some younger or quieter siblings in silence or unable to compete with the interesting talk. One child may never volunteer their story, sad moment, triumph or rejection with the whole family.
They may not think it something that everyone should hear. If you’ve consistently carved out time with them and communicated that you are always there for them (and are willing to take some time away from everyone else) then they’ll be more apt to come to you with what is important to their heart.
If they are hurt or really agonizing over something (as all kids do from time to time) you want there to be a clear open place for talk. And, you want them to know that their siblings don’t need to know about it.
Easy ways to spend one-on-one time with kids
- Have one child per night help you cook dinner.
- When possible, run errands with one child at a time.
- Take walks around your neighborhood (it’s free and exercise, win win).
- Join them alone for one of their interests (sports, dance, library, etc.).
- Do your individual chores together.
- Read books together.
- Do home projects together. They must be done, so why not together?
- Play their favorite game.
Remember, trying to treat everyone equally will never work. In fact, it will communicate a wrong message.
Why? Because everyone is not equal.
Some are taller, some are shorter, some are funnier, some are smarter, some are more ambitious, and some are more artistic.
You love them individually and for who they are as a person. Spending time alone with them on a consistent basis will help solidify their place in the family (in their minds) and will bring you both memories that will last a lifetime.
Want to be sure you get quality time in?
That said, if you want to make sure each of your children get special time with you, but struggle to make it happen in the day to day it probably comes down to one thing: planning.
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There's Just One Mommy says
That individual time is so valuable!
I always can tell the difference in my daughter’s attitude once we’ve had a bit of alone time together. Love the idea of having one child each night help with dinner!
Rachel Norman says
Yes, a reader or friend suggested that, not sure which, but I think that’s gold. And too many cooks in the kitchen isn’t helpful anyway so it’s win win!
The problem isn’t so much knowing what to do with the one-to-one time with each child, it is knowing what to do with the other child to allow for that time! Finding a nice distracting activity works for a short while, but the moment one of them realises the other one is alone with me, they want a piece of the action. And if I let the other child watch TV for 15 mins or so (the one thing they will happily do) then the one who is meant to be spending time with me is grumpy that they aren’t getting to watch TV too! Any tips welcome :-)
Rachel Norman says
Nina, I’m with you on that one! I often find the only (or best for us) way to do that is when the other kids are in their rooms playing (independent play) or in a nap. Or otherwise occupied by another adult. It’s SUPER hard to find time during the day if you’re the only one home and they are just sort of doing their own thing. If what you attempt to do is too interesting, you got it, others come.
I usually plan for alone time with one daughter while my husband gets to have alone time with the other one. It really helps to leave the house and go do something special. My husband and I usually plan very different things and we have a lot of fun sharing pictures of our one-on-one adventures with the girls.
Very nice tips, also read this:http://www.indiaparenting.com/raising-children/253_3412/how-to-spend-time-with-children.html
Spending quality time with kids is so so important. My hubby and I, we decided to buy jumping castle online https://www.joy-jump.com/jumping-castle/ last year. Kids couldn’t be more happy and active, and even us, the adults, we’re more active then I expected :)
Emery Jean Chambers says
I do like it when you pointed out by reserving time to spend with the child one-on-one, then their appreciation tank will be filled and will reduce their desperate attention-grabbing behavior. If that is the case, then I really need to consider planning an alone time with my little girl and do activities together. I will start researching what I can do to make this happen. After all, I am noticing that she has become clingy. Thank you.
Lilia Robberts says
I love my daughter, but sometimes I don’t know what to do as a mother to help her. Thank you for letting me know the benefits of spending one-on-one time with my child. I also found the list very helpful of things I can do with my daughter. The idea of reading books together really made me happy. It made me think about the time I spend with my mom as a child. I’ll need to find more books for children.
Margaret Rodgers says
Hi, I am Margaret Rodgers. Thanks for your great article. I am very much cautious about my raising child. Actually, My kids are zeal of playing with the bounce house. It’s good for kids health and helps to grow up very well. And When I see their joy knew no bounds then, I feel very happy. I think they are much more secure than the toys you might give your kids. Toy parts can be harmful if swallowed and this is not the case with any bouncy products. My doctors have also said that kids who want to grow taller should be consistent in jumping and reaching for higher objects this stretches out the bones improving their height.
I just feel so depressed at the idea of this. I cannot figure out how to take care of myself, much less be able to spend one on one time with my 4 year old and 2 year old twins. It all just feels impossible and then I feel like a bad mom and that I wish my kids had someone who wasn’t as tired. I cannot spend every Saturday with one child….and the kids are too young to be near the stove…also, we microwave dinner mostly! ha! I am about 3 years behind on life and stay up late every night trying to get things done. And if I am lucky enough to have childcare, I have about 10,000 things to do and also work part time. It feels like the expectations for parents are not reachable for me and sometimes the choice feels like, have a sane mother and no individual time, or get individual time with a mom who is on the brink of losing her sanity all the time.
Rachel Norman says
THEN DO NOT DO IT. You must take care of you, be well, and then if you are able to add in that individual time do it. If not, then have good joint time. The End, girl!
Your children are very young, I didn’t start taking mine out until the oldest was 8 and the youngest was 5.
Still, I think you could plan someting with your 4 year old for a couple of hours on Saturday every couple of month or so. Have your husband stay home with the twins. Go do something you would both enjoy. For example, I like cute cafes, art exhibits, used bookstores, art workshops, movies and concerts. It might be the refreshment you need in your hectic life.
Also, it helps immensely to open Google Calendar and plan these things out. Plan your domestic duties, family time, time alone and exercise. With so much to do, it might lessen your sense of overwhelm if you feel like you are in control of your time. Get your to do list and spread it over an entire month.