No matter how big or small your family may be, it's important for parents to ensure that every child gets equal love and care, which is an enormous task. For me, as I reflect back on my childhood, I remember feeling a slight tinge of envy when my baby brother was born. Thankfully, my parents always made a point to spend as much time with me as they did before my little brother, despite their busy schedules. I still remember how special that made me feel, and as a result my relationship with my brother is strong.
Parents today are swamped with work commitments like never before. That's why it's critical to take a step back and be mindful of how you are spending your precious hours. Here are four reasons why you must spend quality time with each of your kids individually and tips from wise moms who have been able to do so successfully.
1. It Shows Just How Much You Care
Of course you love your children. But how often do you express this to them and show it in a way that they understand. Rachel, a mom and a contributing writer for Modernalternativemama
writes: ‘Spending time with them will show them that love we want to convey loudly and clearly. It’s one thing to say “I love you,” and it’s entirely different to say, “I love you so much that I am willing to block off time on my calendar, turn off my phone, and focus completely on you.”
Scheduling dates with your kids is an effective method way to see your son or daughter regularly. Tricia says on her blog
: “We try to do these dates monthly. This means that there is one day each month that our kids know they have our full undivided attention.”
I particularly like Becky’s method of scheduling one-on-one time that she has shared in her blog
: “Every month on our child’s birth date, they get to have their night. (Example: our first son was born on August 29, so every month on the 29th
is his night. Our second son was born on April 18, so the 18th
of every month is his night.)”
has another take on this: "Although I love the idea of scheduling, I find the best one-on-one time occurs in those unexpected times when you find yourself playing street hockey with your son before dinner or playing a monopoly after school with your daughter before the other child is home. Sometimes, I’ll suggest grabbing a quick breakfast with one before school or day care or going for an ice-cream at the end of the day."
2. It Helps Your Son Or Daughter Open Up To You
One-on-one time is a great way to foster intimate bonding and trust between you and your kid. It will make them feel like they are being heard and understood. And when that happens, they are likely to talk more and share their concerns with you.
, a mom blogger, shares one great way to do this: “Before we put our children to bed, we go to each of them and chat for a bit and then pray together. They each have their own bed, so they each have their own little quiet time with us as they are winding down. Sometimes things that happened at school or something that they are worried about will come up. These conversations are special and easy way to build in a tradition of one-on-one time every day.”
3. The Quieter Sibling Feels Heard
The quieter son or daughter is often the one who feels neglected. Napthali Roberts, a marriage and family therapist, explains: “One-on-one time is especially helpful for children who are more introverted, shy or often mold to their environments. I have had parents say that they realized that they didn’t know their quieter child until they started monthly one-on-one dates. They realized through this special time that their child is often complied with her siblings’ desires and had not ever really shared what they enjoyed or loved.”
Psychologist Tracy S Bennett, PhD, founder of the site GetKidsInternetSafe.com
, says, "Often times, my middle daughter would rather stay quiet then get one-upped or corrected by her older sister. But when she’s alone, she can be openly exploratory and take risks her siblings may suppress.”
4. Make Time For Each Parent In Unique Ways
It is important for your kid to bond with each parent uniquely. Dr Purett explains: “Time alone with mom is just different from time alone with dad, and those differences reinforce the strengths from each other.”
Rachel shares in her blog: “I recently went to a musical with my 11-year-old daughter and we both had a blast! It was fun girl time that we will both remember for a long time.”
Kristin writes in her blog: “Yearly vacations are a great way for us to invest in our children…My husband took our oldest to the Grand Canyon and they were able to talk about the changes ahead and becoming a man. My middle son will be having his trip this summer and in few short years I’ll be planning a trip for my daughter.”
How do you spend one-on-one time with your kids? Share your tips with us.