My daughter peered at me from behind the kitchen door as I was busy preparing supper.
“Mumma, I want to you to play the dollhouse game with me”
“Not now”, I replied. “I am finishing up the kitchen work first”.
Her head dropped low and she turned back but her voice still carried “But you said you will play with me”.
It had been a busy day. Super busy. My office work, household chores, cooking, kids’ online classes. But with this incident I realised while I was fulfilling my responsibilities to a large extent, I was missing out on giving one-on-one attention to each child. Frankly, in working motherhood, there’s this little thing called time that gets in the way of our best intentions. Our days are often a frenzy of work and home commitments. It’s hard to get everyone where they need to be each morning. Let alone carve out one-on-one time with each child.
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Why is one-on-one quality time required?
- Children desperately need quality time alone with their parents to feel loved and secure.
- Investing in regular quality time with your child can help them feel so much more settled, less stressed, more secure, confident and more cooperative.
- It builds self-esteem in shyer, less outgoing children. 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.
- Creating quality time with each child also tends to greatly minimize sibling rivalry. It may cut back on attention-getting behaviour. You know how children often act out in an attempt to get attention!
- Kids need attention, just like us adults. And they love parent’s attention better than most. Children crave quality time with their parents because they have such a deep innate and healthy drive for that attention. A regular dose of Special Time keeps children feeling more content. It’s a great way to ‘refill their cup’.
But spending time with each child may be difficult when you have more than one child and you are a busy and tired mom (Oh well, isn’t being mom equals being busy & tired all the time?!)
So, here are some very practical ways to spend one-on-one time with each child which I am sharing basis my personal experience as a mom of twins.
How To Spend Quality Time With Each Child If You Have More Than One Kid
1. Divide and Conquer
Well, as much as it may sound too strong a statement, I think the most practical and viable way that works for us is by splitting up. We take responsibility of each child for ‘a’ specific time on ‘a’ specific day when it comes to spending quality time. Splitting up as a family can offer ample time for each parent to spend time with each child. For example, if you have two children, one weekend dad could hit the mall with one and mom could go to the dance class with the other. The other weekend, just swap the kids and indulge in some quality time with each child.
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2. Make Your Children Part of Your Routine
Spending time with each child does not have to be an expensive or out of the norm affair. You can simply involve the child individually in household errands and spend some “one on one” time. For example, grocery shopping is something you have to do anyways, so why not use it as quality time with your kids? By taking turns grocery shopping with each child, you are squeezing in that one-on-one time while you take care of a necessary chore.
Similarly, if kids are 4 years plus age, you can involve them in kitchen with you. Call each child (one at a time) into the kitchen and let them take turns helping you with something. Or do as I do and place the children on a rotation where each one has an assigned night each week to be the dinner helper. It may take patience to have kids help in the kitchen, but it’s totally worth it. You’re teaching them practical life skills and spending lots of quality time with them at the same time.
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3. Indulge in things that they enjoy
Pay close attention to the things they like and sit and do what they want to do. Even if it’s watching 30 minutes of Peppa Pig or any YouTube videos. Catch the moment when your little girl is drawing and sit next to her. Initiate a discussion and let the child know that they can open up and share some alone time with you.
Remember, the real “quality ” time will not come as a separate time slot in the day. It’s just those small moments that you need to identify and capture so that the child gets individual attention.
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Finally, and perhaps most importantly, let yourself off the hook, mama. The fact that this issue worries you means that you ARE being thoughtful about your relationship with each child. So just take each moment as it comes. You will figure it out over time. Things change as phases change, and there’s always an opportunity to course-correct. I’m pretty sure, like most things in parenthood, the question of one-on-one time with each child will be an ongoing, ever-evolving dance.