You’d think with all the time I’m spending at home with my littles, it wouldn’t be hard to find quality one-on-one time with each of them. But, it is! The group dynamic of family shows them in a different light then them alone. The quiet one isn’t as easily heard, the oldest too often needs to be the mature, responsible one, the youngest rarely gets first choice in play, and the little girl is often listening to stories of vikings when she’d rather hear about bunnies. Not that they’re complaining, but wow, can we see a difference when we make special effort to carve out time for each of them to spend with us.
We want to know each of their uniquely created personalities and to nurture their individuality. We want to provide a dependable, comfortable space for them to talk with us. Along the parenting way, we’ve picked up two simple ways to spend individual time with our littles easily and regularly:
1. Run an errand, bring a little. As often as possible, when one of us runs an errand, we bring one little with us. We can talk and teach while traveling together. If I’m picking out fabric, I teach them about types of material, measuring, and patterns. If my husband is running to Home Depot, he names tools, parts, and details processes. When time and money allows, we stop for a quick treat. But, more often than not we’re simply listening. Some of our best conversations have been in the car running from store to store. Added bonus, have you noticed how easy errands are with only one little??
2. Ten Minute Stay Up. Once a week, each little gets a turn to stay up ten minutes after bedtime to spend with mom and dad. They pick a book of their choice and we snuggle in our bed to read it. I tend to read rhythmically; my husband uses all types of funny voices. My littles love this! After reading, we chat, laugh a little, and pray over this child. My husband kinda smirks at us calling it “ten minute stay up,” because it usually turns into more like twenty minutes. But, it’s just precious, sweet time. With my pregnancy sickness, we got out of the habit. We’ve recently reinstated it and I can tell how much we all missed it!
We also throw in the occasional special dates with our littles, but we find the above two ideas easier to maintain all the time. I believe I read one of these ideas in a book and one in a blog post. But, I read them years ago now and cannot honestly remember the source of either idea. If you know, please share in the comments and I’ll edit the post!
How about y’all? Do you find yourself making special arrangements to spend individual time with your littles or does it occur more naturally for you? I’d love to hear what works in your family!