Spending one-on-one time with each of your children is essential, but finding that time can be tricky when you have multiple kids.
Kids desperately need time with their parents. They want and need to be loved and to feel secure, but siblings get in the way!
I know the battle! With four kids, one being a high-needs infant, I sometimes struggle to find the time to create one-on-one moments with each of my kids.
A few nights ago, as I was working on deadlines for my freelance business, my six-year-old climbed onto my recliner, almost upsetting my chair.
“What’s up, dude? I’m working,” I said.
“Nothing,” he quietly said.
“Do you need anything?” I asked as I continued to work.
“No, I just miss you and want to snuggle,” he said peering at me.
I thought for a moment. I homeschool, so we’re always together, but it’s the holidays. We’ve been crazy busy with family parties, shopping, gift wrapping, baking, and two parents who work.
Just because I’m home doesn’t mean all of that time is spent focused on my kids.
My son misses spending time with me.
So, I set everything aside so we could cuddle and watch some Fortnite videos. He loves those videos, and I just wanted to love on him. After all, there are four kids and one of me!
Quality Time Matters
Spending quality time with your kids is one of the best ways to curb bad behaviors.
Kids long to feel connected to their parents, and they want to feel loved, even if their behavior isn’t the best.
When we are having issues with our kids’ behaviors, we first think about the last time that the child had a special time, and we quickly schedule another time.
It’s so common for us to feel like we need to multitask. I know I do! I cook dinner while checking emails, or I watch TV while reading a news article.
Multitasking is part of our everyday lives, but it shouldn’t be part of your one-on-one time with your child. You can disconnect for 30 minutes to an hour a day – it’s okay! Put down the phone and laptop. Forget about work.
Your child needs quality time with you.
Focusing on your child individually makes your child feel like a true treasure to you – and they are a treasure! Each of your kids is special, and they should feel like it!
Making One-on-One Time with Multiple Kids
Let Kids Stay Up Later One at a Time
My husband is usually off twice a week. Each night, we let one of the kids stay up later. It’s a rotation. Typically, they just stay up an hour later than normal.
To be honest, we don’t do anything crazy! We might play a few video games together, watch a movie, eat some popcorn, and just talk.
It’s simply a time that my husband and I are usually awake and claim for ourselves, but we spend an hour with one of our children instead.
Talk to your child. I mean, really talk to them. Don’t correct them or anything. Ask how their days are. Talk about their dreams and what books they’re enjoying.
Talk to your child as if they’re your friend. You’ll discover more about your kids than you imagined.
Another way we once scheduled this was by letting them stay up on their birth date each month. So, my daughter stayed up on the 28th of each month. However, once my husband’s schedule changed, that no longer worked for us.
Our three kids who are old enough to help – somewhat – in the kitchen have an assigned day. They get to pick one meal that they’ll help me cook. It could be breakfast or dinner – whatever they want.
Starting off, cooking with your kids can be frustrating. My two-year-old is a terror at times, especially when he wants to add the cinnamon to our banana muffins.
I have to remind myself that we’re spending time together, and the kids are learning life lessons!
My oldest, who is almost 9-years-old, can cook several things by herself because we’ve spent so much time cooking.
You can also involve your kids in kitchen cleanup. When I grew up, my mom and I washed dishes together many evenings, and now I see that some of our best conversations were while we tag-teamed dishes. So, work alongside your kids and chat!
Like many people, we live on a budget, and taking the kids on fancy dates isn’t a possibility when I have four kids. Instead, my preferred dates are coffee dates. We have several great coffee shops in the area to visit.
My oldest daughter and I went to a local coffee shop lately. I drank a delicious chai tea latte, and she had regular chai tea.
We brought some of her coloring books, and we colored together. It was relaxing, and we spent time chatting. Easy and cheap!
Take Turns Going to the Store
Shopping is part of life. We have to go grocery shopping if we want to eat. Instead of dragging all four kids with me to the grocery store – no thank you! – I take one of my older kids. They get to help me, pick out a snack, and we spend time talking.
If you notice, talking is a common theme here. I look for opportunities to talk to my kids. We talk every day, but I look for times when we can have uninterrupted conversations.
Read Each Child Bedtime Stories Individually
Reading to your kids improves their reading skills and vocabulary. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to bond with your child.
I read aloud to all of my kids as part of our daily homeschool. If you don’t do so, I do encourage you to read aloud to your family! Kids can sit and listen to a chapter per day.
At night, I try to take time to read to each of my kids individually. With my oldest, we read a chapter or a few pages in a book. She reads larger chapter books now. For my younger kids, we read one or two picture books per night.
Not only is reading at nighttime beneficial to your kids, but you also get some extra cuddle time. Kids need physical touch and love.
Take a Walk Together
Getting outside is good for the soul and your body. Our kids love to talk walks together. Sometimes, I take all of the kids together, but sometimes, I ask one child at a time if they want to take a stroll around the neighborhood.
Walking gets your brain flowing. My kids ask some of the most thought-provoking questions when we are walking.
For your older kids, you can make it a goal to walk so many times a week. Kids love challenges and goals, but your secret goal is to get extra time alone with your kids.
For younger kids, learn about birds and trees. Grab a book to help you identify what you find!
Play Board Games Together
One of our favorite pastimes is playing board games. We gameschool, so board games are part of our regular lives. Sometimes, we play card or dice games as well.
My kids love when we break out a board game to play. It’s also a good way to get in time with two kids at one time, but I do highly encourage you to make sure its individual.
Life happens, and sometimes individual time doesn’t always happen as we plan!
Playing games together is fun, and kids are more likely to talk to their parents when having fun together. Our kids love games like:
- Ticket to Ride
Focus On What Is Essential
When it comes to one-on-one time with your kids, quality means more than quantity. 10 minutes of quality talking time means more than 30 minutes of poor-quality bonding time.
Put away your phone, don’t worry about your email or work, and talk to your kids. Spend time with them, even if it’s chatting while doing dishes together.
It can feel hard to find that time, but you CAN find 5 minutes per child. That might mean being a bit creative and using a chart to keep yourself accountable.
Make it a goal for your year to increase your quality time with all of your kids.