In today’s fast-paced world, it’s challenging to fit in true quality time with our kids each day, especially when you have multiples. But the importance of individual one-on-one time—for both you and your children—should not be overlooked. Try these strategies to help make and find time to spend one-on-one time with all your kids.
Kids, especially younger ones, relish opportunities to do something beyond the norm. Mundane chores we often wish we could avoid—grocery shopping or fueling up the car—are exhilarating experiences for them. Roaming the grocery aisles and letting them know ahead of time that they can pick out one item of their choice can turn a boring trip into an exciting treasure hunt. You can let them help pump gas (if they’re of legal age to do so) or watch the meter, turning a simple errand into a math lesson about rounding numbers and multiplication. Young children typically are eager to help out and show off their skills, especially if they have a solo audience. Take one of your kids with you on a routine errand and see how much fun you can have.
Most weekends I pick a morning and take one of our kids to the local diner. It’s exciting, largely because they get out of the house on their own and it makes them feel special. Their siblings get excited because they know whoever goes will bring them back a tasty surprise. These early mornings start off a precious work-free day on the right foot, and give me the opportunity to chat and hear stories—without sibling interruptions. Going out to eat as a whole family can really be an exercise in patience and management, but when we are there one-on-one, it is amazingly peaceful and provides a great opportunity to connect. This is one of my favorite parts of the week.
All kids have natural strengths. One of my sons is a numbers whiz, and another prefers to read. As a result, it’s sometimes hard to focus their collective attentions on something they do not naturally gravitate toward. When we spend one-on-one learning time with our kids, it gives us an opportunity to work on developing skills in a calmer environment. It also gets the kids excited about learning. My wife spends time each morning practicing reading with our numbers whiz. He enjoys that calm time free from sibling chaos, and she can really connect with him and help him focus on phonics. It’s a great time to foster closeness and learning.
All of our kids are different, but they all have one thing in common: they love one-on-one time with mommy or daddy. Truth be told, we love it as much—or more—than they do. Make sure that no matter how hectic your schedule, you still make time to connect in this way. It’s surprising how impactful it can be on the whole family.