Parents with multiple kids know just how tough it can be to get one-on-one time with their children, individually. This is a challenge I face often and have had to get creative to find time alone with each of my boys. Everyone has a list of activities and responsibilities to take care of, plus there is often the issue of making sure there is care for our other children.
Though it can be difficult, I feel that carving out this time is so very important to my kids. It gives them a chance to be the focus of attention for a bit, without anyone else stealing their thunder. It also allows me to foster a strong and positive relationship with them which I hope will serve me well as we enter their teenage years.
Creating the Time
There are lots of ways to approach creating the time that is needed to have a solo “date” with your child. Here are just a few of the ways that I have used over the years.
- Take them along on errands – One of the ways I get time alone with my boys is to rotate taking them along on my weekend errands. Yes, they have to survive the “torture” of grocery shopping, haircuts, and the like, but there is always the reward of lunch or dinner alone with mom after. And usually, some other fun treat is involved, as well.
- Spend time together after a sports practice or individual activity – With my middle son, we get lots of “just us” time in the summer following his away swim meets. As long as they fall on a day when there is someone to stay with the youngest, he and I will go alone and he’ll have my full focus to cheer him on and celebrate time cuts and victories with a treat after the meet. Similarly, the youngest has a robotics club that he enjoys twice a month. That is his solo activity and he and I will often have dinner together before we go.
- Arrange a sitter for a full day – A great treat for my kids is to have a full day that is just about fun alone with mom and dad. While one child is spending the day with friends or with a sitter, we’ll take the other out alone and make it a full day just for them. We’ll see a movie, hit an arcade, go to lunch – whatever is within budget and on the must-do list for our kiddo. These don’t happen too terribly often, but the bonding when they do is irreplaceable.
- Divide and Conquer – Even if a day out isn’t in the cards, take turns spending quality time at home with the kids, on an individual basis. Find a book or movie to enjoy together, work on a DIY project, or even choose a video game that they can teach you to play. Wherever your child’s interests lie, you can find some common ground to spend time enjoying each other’s company while the other parent keeps the rest of the family occupied.
- Plan an overnight or weekend trip alone – If you’re celebrating something major or just have a little extra budget, planning a little getaway with one of your kids can be a great time to have some fun together. The alone time involved in travel opens up great opportunities to talk about what is going on in their lives.
Finding time to spend one-on-one with your kids can be difficult, but it does so much to develop a good relationship between you. They will be secure in the knowledge that you are interested in them and what is important to them. It will also create avenues for open communication and opportunities to find out what’s happening in their lives that you might not be aware of. There are so many benefits to creating this time that will help you both to be happier people with a solid relationship.
How is one-on-one time done around your house? Let us know your best tips and ideas!