Creating one-on-one time with your child and giving him or her individual attention isn’t always easy.
If you have multiple children, you know it can be difficult to spend quality one-one-one time with each child.
In hearing from moms all over the globe, we’ve learned here at Jen Bradley|MOMs that finding time for each child individually is a very common concern among moms!
We know we want to do it, and we feel that it’s crucial, but making the time for it is another matter entirely!
Here’s why spending individual time with your child is important, and how you can make it happen on a regular basis.
You’ll also find some great ideas for what to do with your child during your one-one-one time too!
Why is individual attention important
There are at least four main reasons why creating individual time with your kids is important:
- According to Discovery Point, giving children individual attention helps them to feel special and important. These feelings help children develop stronger self-esteem and confidence.
- Additionally, when kids have one-on-one time, they are given an easier opportunity to communicate any issues or concerns they are having in their life with a trusted adult.
- Spending dedicated time with each child can help you as the parent discover any extra support or love your kid may need.
- Kids can also learn that they need to cooperate with their siblings and share your attention, and they’ll know that they will receive their own special time with a parent too.
How to spend one-on-one time with each child
The first thing to do to start spending one-on-one time with your kids is to talk about it with your family.
Share your desires with your family, and tell them why you want to start creating individual time with your kids.
Chances are, your kids will be really excited about this, and they may even be the ones who end up holding you to your goal in the long run!
Finding time for individual time
Next, take a look at your family schedule and figure out where you can schedule time for your kids to receive individual attention. This can be the trickiest part, as many families have jam-packed calendars to begin with!
Start by looking for little gaps, such as ten minutes before bed, time spent together in the car, during the baby’s nap, or quiet weekend mornings or afternoons.
You may also find ways to spend one-on-one time with your kids by doubling up simple, mundane activities with quality time.
For example, you could invite one of your kids to help you make a simple meal together, tell a made-up fairy tale to your toddler while you fold laundry, or ask your kid Would You Rather questions before you tuck him or her into bed at night.
Related article: 301 Awesome Would You Rather Questions for Kids
Whatever time you decide to designate for one-on-one time with your child, be sure to make it official by writing it down or putting it on the calendar.
Make one-on-one time a family goal
To really help get started with spending individual time with your child, you may consider making it a family goal.
Decide how often you want to have one-on-one time and choose a small reward for the whole family to enjoy once you reach your goal!
This will really help your kids get on board, and they’ll likely do a great job of keeping track of whose turn for individual time is coming up next.
Once you have a plan or a schedule in place, it’s time to come up with some great ideas for things to do during your one-on-one time!
7 great ideas for one-on-one time with your child
These 7 ideas for spending individual time with your kid range from more formal events and activities to those that are more practical and easy to carry out!
All of them are completely do-able and don’t have to put any pressure on your pocketbook. Score!
1. Go on Mommy & Daddy dates
Mommy and Daddy dates are a fantastic way to help each of your kids feel special and important!
You can set aside one day a week or every two weeks for a Mommy Date and invite one of your kids to go with you to a place of their choosing to do something fun together.
Keep having these Mommy Dates until each kid has had a turn.
At that point, you could take a break for a few weeks, or switch to Daddy Dates, where each kid then has a turn to do something fun and special with Dad.
Another option, especially if you have teenagers who can babysit, is to take one child out at a time with Mom AND Dad together!
Of course, it will be helpful set a few parameters on your Mommy/Daddy Dates so your kids know what to expect.
You might give them a few acceptable options for activities based on price and let them choose, or you may challenge yourselves to come up with a completely free activity to do together.
Also, make sure your kid knows about how long the date can be, so they don’t choose an activity that takes all day!
Here are some of our favorite ideas for Mommy or Daddy dates:
- go on a walk or a bike ride together
- play tennis, soccer, basketball, or catch together at a local court or field
- visit a nature center
- go to a science museum
- go to a sit-down restaurant
- try a new ice cream shop
- visit a book store or library and spend time reading together
- go to the movies
- take a favorite board game to play at the library
- visit an art gallery or museum
- play at the playground together
- go to an arcade
- go out for hot chocolate at a local coffee shop
- do a scavenger hunt together
- go fishing
- browse a fancy store together
- go camping
- go bowling
- fly kites
- watch a favorite movie after the other kids have gone to bed
If you’re not sure how get some fun conversations started on your Mommy or Daddy dates, you can download and print our massive list of Would You Rather Questions for Kids from the Jen Bradley|MOMs FREE Printable Library right here:
2. Have “Mommy time” in the morning
Mommy morning time is one of our favorite ideas for giving individual attention to your kids.
You may feel that your mornings are already stretched when it comes to both time and emotions, but factoring in just a few minutes of mommy time can help calm everyone down!
Basically, all you need to do is set aside 10 minutes in the morning to spend with one of your kids.
Rotate your kids once a week, or according to a schedule that works best for you.
(For example, if you have 2 kids, mommy morning time could happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or if you have 5 kids, each child could have one weekday morning – the same day every week.).
Some fun ideas for mommy morning time are:
- read a story or chapter from a book together
- color a picture
- swing on a swing set
- build a quick Lego or MagnaTile creation
- play a quick card game
- do an online quiz together
- listen to a new favorite song a few times
- work on a puzzle
- blow bubbles outside
Related article: How to Create the Best Summer Schedule for Your Kids
3. Spend individual time during their bedtime routine
Bedtime might seem like an obvious time to give your kids some individual attention, but it really is wonderful to be intentional about it!
Of course, you want to get your kids to bed, so this one-on-one time doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes per child.
Here are some great questions to ask your kids at the end of the day to connect with them before they fall asleep:
- What was the best thing about your day?
- What was the hardest thing that happened to you today?
- Who are you thankful for today?
- What is a lesson you learned today?
- How you feel about (something that happened during the day)?
- What are you looking forward to for tomorrow?
Of course, you don’t have to ask them all. In fact, it’s better to just choose one or two, and to really listen when your kid gives you his or her answer.
4. Involve them in chores
Involving your kids in household chores is not only a great way to connect with them individually, but it also helps you clean your house! Win-win, right?!
You can invite your child to help you with tons of different chores, depending on their age. To make this extra fun, turn on a playlist of some of your kid’s favorite songs and get to
dancing – working!
Here are some easy household chores to do with your kids:
- do the dishes and load the dishwasher together
- pull sheets off the beds and throw them in the laundry
- make an easy meal together
- clean mirrors
- wipe down tables, counters, or walls together
- weed the yard or garden
- set or clear the dinner table
- gather the trash and take it out
- sort the laundry
- dust bookshelves and toy shelves
- declutter a closet or room
- clean outdoor toys, tools, or bikes (and don’t be afraid to get wet in the process!)
5. Take one child at a time when you run errands
While going to the grocery store or the post office may not seem like a big adventure to you, you might be surprised how excited your kid might be to join you!
If you have older children to babysit or child care in place, you may consider inviting one child at a time to accompany you on trips to the bank, grocery store, Target, the post office, the dry cleaners, etc.
It’s a good idea to rotate which child you take with you, so everyone who wants to can have a turn.
Taking one child with you on an errand may slow your roll a little, but taking advantage of this opportunity to give individual attention to your kid is worth it, in our opinion!
You may find that your kids will want to be more open in conversation in an informal one-on-one setting like running errands together than they would be even on a Mommy or Daddy date.
6. Take advantage of time in the car
Anytime you are in the car with one child, make it a point to connect with them.
You can do this through conversation or with music.
First, to connect in conversation, ask your child specific questions about his or her day, or the event they are just about to attend.
You’re more likely to get more than a one-word response if you ask, “What was the best part of your day?” than if you ask, “How was your day?”
Some other great questions to ask in the car are:
- “Who was the person you were most excited to see today?”
- “What is something you learned?”
- “What are you working on?”
- “How likely is it that your team will do well in the tournament?”
If you do get a one-word answer, you can always follow up with: “Why do you think that? I’m interested.”
Secondly, you can use time in the car to connect individually with your child through music.
You may want to create a playlist of all of his or her favorite songs – and then play that playlist when you’re in the car together.
Feel free to belt out the words together as you drive along! Your child may think it’s really cool that Mom actually knows his favorite songs.
7. Schedule separate dentist/doctor visits for each of them
While it can be a time-saver to take all of your kids to the dentist or the doctor in one fell swoop, it can also be a great time to connect with them if you schedule their appointments individually.
Because doctor or dentist visits are necessary and require advance planning, you’ll be sure to make sure that this individual attention time with your child actually happens!
Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to connect in the car on the drive to the appointment, and try to leave screens tucked away while you’re sitting in the waiting room.
Instead, you may trying playing simple games like “I, Spy” with your young child, or asking “Would You Rather Questions” to your older kid.
Because you won’t have other children with you, you’ll be able to focus on what the doctor or dentist says about one child at a time, which communicates individual love and concern for the child who is there with you.
Finally, at the end of the appointment, you may consider taking your child for a simple celebratory treat as an impromptu Mommy date!
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Final thoughts on spending individual time with your kids
Are you feeling empowered and excited to start spending more one-on-one time with your kids? We hope so!
Remember, it is OKAY if your efforts don’t go as planned, or if a Mommy Date isn’t perfect from beginning to end.
What matters most is that you make the attempt to spend individual time with each of your kids. They WILL see your efforts and they’ll know that you are doing your best to create one-on-one time for them.
Getting into any new routine or practice can take time, so be sure to give yourself some grace and allow yourself to try again if needed.
Over time, you’ll likely begin to look forward to the one-on-one time with your kids and it’ll become a regular routine everyone in your family will appreciate!
Related articles about parenting and family life:
–How to Create Opportunities for Family Bonding
–101 Awesome Screen-Free Activities for Kids
–How to Prevent Summer Learning Loss