How To Prioritize Spending Time With Your Kids Alone
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How To Prioritize Spending Time With Your Kids Alone
“Do you like me, mom?” He says with his piercing blue eyes staring right into mine without breaking contact.
“Yes, babe, I LOVE you!” I replied with a puzzled look.
“Why are you asking me that?” I said.
He couldn’t tell me. Maybe he asked because it was late at night and when he is tired he gets emotional.
Maybe we had a trying day, and I seemed frustrated at some point.
Was it middle child syndrome?
Whatever the case, I felt as if someone kicked me in the gut and all the air I had left my body in one swift blow.
I thought about that moment for days. I remember replaying it over and over in my head.
Rationalizing all the ways, I know I am a good mom, and how could one of my children even question my like or love for them at all.
I bounced back and forth between guilt for all the moments I am not right at his side and how many ways I show him, love. One of the reasons we homeschool is so that we can pour into our children.
Then again, he is only a preschooler, who knows what he was thinking or what prompted this question that had me so wound up.
One thing I always have been good at it showering my children with love. But with three kids and the last two of them very close in age, I see how one-on-one time had become a rarity.
Whether or not our lack of spending time with our kids one-on-one prompted his gut-wrenching question – I don’t know. But what I did know is that I was going to create a plan to ensure routine time where I could be alone with each of them.
But as busy moms and families, how can you prioritize spending time with kids?
I am a natural planner at heart, so I knew that one-on-one time would need to be a scheduled event to make sure it happened regularly. I also knew that I had to make it a priority.
It is crucial that we view this time together as an investment and not a hassle or burden. It is so easy for us to allow our daily routines to consume us as families. Spending time with kids one-on-one and building relationships are some of the most critical elements of our lives as parents.
Here are some practical ideas that can help you incorporate time with each of your children one-on-one regularly.
Plan It. Use whatever system works best for you. Whether that is your monthly family calendar or your phone reminders, find a place to plan it and keep your appointment.
Allot your time. If you have two children or seven, you need to think about how much time do you have to give up each week or month. To give you an idea- I have three children, and I can easily schedule or give up at a minimum of 1 hour a month alone with each child. That will vary from time to time, say for instance if my teenager has particular events that I need to help her with or attend. We may find extra time eating meals together to and from activities or grabbing a coffee on the way to drop her off places. But generally, I make sure each one of my kids will get that minimum of an hour with me somehow.
Choose regularity. What can you fit in without stressing over it? These moments should be a treat of sorts, so you don’t want to set yourself up to be stressed out to keep the dates. Meeting for one-on-one time weekly may be way too much with all the other commitments of life. It may be more realistic to choose a monthly appointment with each one or even quarterly if you have multiple children and a packed schedule.
Pray. Think about praying over your time with each child individually before you meet. Or even praying with your children over their struggles or giving gratitude for their accomplishments when you meet. Praying with your children is essential to your relationship and for strengthening their relationship with God.
Perspective. These meetings with your children are perfect for seeing what’s in their hearts. You are giving them your undivided attention and allowing them to speak uninterrupted by siblings. They get an opportunity to share with you and bond in a way that is hard to do with all of the family present each day.
Here are three tips to make the most of your one-on-one time and promote healthy connections together.
• Do not over promise and under deliver. Never should you tell your children that you will spend time with them and not follow through. Broken promises can be devastating to a young child. Children are quick to blame themselves when you don’t follow through, so this is a big no-no.
• Keep it simple. Kids are so sweet and easy to please. A picnic, an afternoon ice cream date, or a walk alone in the park are all fantastic ways to connect with your kids. They are happy to be with you no matter what type of date it is. However, with that said, try not to cheat them out of special time with you. What I mean by that is try not to double-duty the time spent with them and drag them to the grocery store every time.
• Make it special. Even if your allotted time with each child is only 30 minutes a month – make it count. Play their favorite board game or color with them. Do something you don’t always get a chance to do together, even if it’s ordinary. It will fill their cup!
Psalm 127 NIV
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
Here are 20 Things to Do While Spending Time With Kids
Ice Cream Date
Lunch or Dinner
Picnic in the Park
Coffee Shop Talk
Boat Ride or Paddle Boats
Play a Board Game
Library or Book Store Trip
Watch a Movie
Cook a Meal
Take a Class Together
Take a Day Trip
Ice Skating or Roller Skating
I hope that these tips and ideas help you to carve out time with your people so that you can love them hard!