One on one time is very important to us in our home. We notice a HUGE change in behavior if it is lacking. Especially with children so close in age (3, 5, 6.5). I know sometimes we worry as mothers and ask ourselves… Am I giving them enough attention? I’m sure there are some days where you feel like you can’t possibly give anymore. All those feelings are OK and completely normal! Things started to get a little tricky when we had our third child because we were officially outnumbered! I thought I would share some of the ways that we work in one on one time. I’m sure a lot of you do these already but hopefully you see something you haven’t tried!
1. Stating the obvious – Have your husband/wife/partner/significant other stay with the children while the other takes one out for a “date”.
2. Stagger bedtime – We often put our children to bed in 30 minute increments (7/7:30/8).
3. Classes/Sports activities- You should be able to find all sorts of classes in your area at a minimal charge or even for free. For instance I take my girls to Michaels Art Store on Saturday mornings. My husband stays with my youngest for one on one time. If it’s not possible for him to stay with her I bring her with me and we play in the store… yes, you heard that right. :-P
4. Pick up early or go in late for school- If my husband goes into work a little bit later or is able to get home a little early one of us will take our daughter out of school. For us, being 20 minutes late to school to have a nice breakfast with mommy/daddy and reconnect is way more than she will get in the time she missed at school. If her heart is happy…. she will be ready to learn.
5. Hire a sitter- I know this is not for everyone but it has worked well for our family. We have an amazing sitter which helps. :-) I will gladly pay someone 25.00 for 2 hours so I can get out with one of the kids. It can turn your entire week around!
6. Moms morning out/Babysitting Co-op- If money is tight, look into programs in your area that help offset that expense. I exchanged childcare with a neighbor early on in the school. Instead of paying one another we would just exchange our time.
7. Utilize close family/friends- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I know that is easier said than done… I struggle with this myself but we have to use our resources. We don’t have any family here but luckily my girls have a second mom in AK. :-)
8. Errands- I know this might not be considered fun but if it’s the only way you can work in some alone time with one of your kids… let them tag along on errands. Having one on one conversation in the car may be all they need.
9. Drop in open play/parents night out- Explore the resources in your area. I know a lot of the gymnastic gyms around here offer open play and “date nights”.
10. Big trips- Maybe once a year we will take one of our children on an over night adventure. A few years back my husband took my daughter to DC for the weekend. Last year I was able to take my oldest to the beach for 2 nights. I can tell you from experience this is the ultimate one on one time! LOL My girls still talk about their experiences from 2-3 years back.
Another thing that has helped us if my oldest is off of school and I have all three girls home is to create a “special time” visual. I’ll try and get pictures of this in the blog post eventually. My girls are huge on visuals. They help them so much. I’ll update the blog post when I add the pictures.