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Spending individual, special time with each child is important. This time helps us to get to know our children individually, to enhance our bond with them, and to learn more about any challenges or problems they’re facing that we can pray about.
It also helps us to remember to enjoy the time with each child, because it really does go quickly!
But, as a busy WAHM, it’s so easy to have a bazillion things pulling on our time that we neglect the tasks that are most important, like making time for each child.
It’s a lot easier to schedule group play time and family read alouds and tasks that involve everyone. That way you spend quality time with all the kids at once.
And while family togetherness is essential and fun, it doesn’t replace the need for your individualized attention that your children have. Each of your children need to spend one-on-one time with you or your spouse on a regular basis.
Here are seven of the tactics I’m using to prioritize special time with each child into my hectic WAHM schedule. I’m still a work in progress, but I am really enjoying getting to know my children better!
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1.Give Your Kids a Day
Each July, each child in my family gets a day of the week. This day is their day.
There are plenty of benefits to assigning a day to each of your kids. One of those benefits is it keeps spending special time with that child in your mind.
Throughout their day, I look for ways to spend some quality time with them. This gives us a chance to chat, play a fun game, or just hang out together.
By focusing on each child on their day, I no longer have to keep track of who gets quality time with me next. It eliminates me trying to keep things fair in my mind. Spending quality time with a child becomes a natural part of each day. This pattern means each of my kids gets special time with me every week.
As a bonus, since everyone knows they have special time coming, they don’t whine when their sibling gets to spend time with me. They know their turn is coming.
(Well, they might whine at first when you implement these changes, but if you are consistent and spend time with each of your children, they will soon learn that everyone gets a turn!)
While some of the ideas I share below are ones I use on their day, don’t feel limited to that method. You don’t have to assign your kids a day to make time for them.
2. Work with a Sous Chef
My kids enjoy helping me cook. But, having too many kids in the kitchen quickly becomes a hazard. There’s just not enough space for everyone to work.
This means cooking is a great time to spend special time with a child. On their day, my kids get to help me cook. As they gain skills in the kitchen, we often switch roles. They’ll be the head chef and I’ll be the assistant.
Here are five kitchen tasks even young kids can help with:
- Getting out ingredients you ask for
- Dumping in pre-measured ingredients
- Shaping cookie dough into balls (for my young kids I scoop out how much I want them to roll and then they roll. Otherwise our cookies are all different sizes!)
- Washing prep dishes (soapy water is a blast!)
While you’re spending this time together, you can visit with each other. You can also:
- Take turns picking songs to sing
- Taste test what you’re cooking
- Make a menu
- Create placemats on construction paper
- Take turns asking each other “get to know you” type questions
Of course a lot of your focus will have to be on the kitchen tasks. That way you keep safety in mind and don’t burn dinner. But, there will be time to enjoy each other’s company while you work.
3. Scheduled Special Time with Each Child
My family has quiet time every day for ninety minutes. Immediately following this time, we have a quick snack and then transition to Sibling Play Time for half an hour. During Sibling Play Time, my kids pair up and spend time playing together.
Except, no one can pair up with the child of the day. That’s because they’re with me for this time. It’s our scheduled special time with each child.
During our 1/2 an hour together, my kids get to select a task for us to do. They are the director of this time, and I play along. Here are some favorite activities:
- Taking a walk
- Looking at old family photos
- Reading books
- Doing a simple art project (these watercolor crayons are a new favorite!)
- Showing off a new skill or trick
- Practicing bike riding
- Sharing favorite YouTube finds
- Playing dress up
- Cooking something special
4. Invite a Child to Walk with You
Walking is one of my decompression activities. When life feels crazy and my mind feels like it might explode, I head outside for a quick walk.
I’ve found that inviting a single child along lets me get the benefits of the walk while also spending special time with one of them.
It usually isn’t a long walk, we typically just walk around a road that loops out by the barn and heads back to the house. It only takes a couple of minutes. We don’t always even talk during this time.
But, we walk hand-in-hand and breathe the fresh air together. A quick hand squeeze lets my child know I’m thinking of them and that I love them!
This time together does us both good. We both head in refreshed and ready to tackle the next activity from our plan of the day.
5. Evening Special Time
I tuck my kids in early. Bedtime around here is typically between 7-7:30 pm.
But sometimes, I let one child stay up a little later. During this time we might:
- Play a quick two-person game like Guess Who? or War
- Read a favorite book (I love listening to my kids read to me!)
- Draw a picture
- Sit and snuggle for a couple of minutes
It really doesn’t matter what we do. The kids love being able to stay up later than the other kids.
And the best part about this time of the day is that my husband is home too. It’s one of the only chances he gets to spend special time with each kid.
6. Accompany You on Errands
Leaving the house is a huge event around here. I typically take as many kids as I can, just so my teen won’t have to keep an eye on too many of them. Sometimes we’ll even load up the bus and take everyone.
But, on the weekends and in the evenings my husband is home. If either of us need to run to the store or gas station for some reason, we invite a child to ride along.
This usually means a special drink or treat, and a great time of conversation. For my extroverted children, this is one of the best ways to spend quality time with them. They need to be around other people, and thrive being on the go. A quick trip to the store feels like an extra special blessing for them.
7. Help You with Your Business
When life is crazy and I have deadlines looming, I’ll invite one of my kids to help me with my business. My younger kids will sit on my lap while I type. I’ll ask them about colors on pins, and let them help pick an image from the stock photo site I subscribe to.
My older ones will sit nearby and offer assistance in other ways. Here are 17 different tasks your kids can help with.
As we work, we talk a little bit about my business and how these tasks can help the child in the future. For instance, my oldest wants to go into graphic design. She’s a huge help to me when it comes to Pinterest, and we often chat about skills she’s learning in Canva or Photoshop, her new design ideas, or what college might be a good fit
It Doesn’t Need to Be Extraordinary to Be Special
There’s a key takeaway to all my ideas for spending special time with each of your kids:
It doesn’t need to be extraordinary to be special.
Except for the occasional treat while out and about, none of these ideas cost any money.
They aren’t fantastic day trips or precisely planned Pinterest projects.
They’re just time together, purposefully investing in your child’s life.
And that makes it special.
Your child needs you, not a ton of bells and whistles. So make spending time with each child a priority in your life. You’ll all benefit from this decision!
I’d love to hear your best strategies for regularly having one-on-one time with each of your kids. Please share in the comments below.
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