Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One-on-One Time With Kids

Having one-on-one time with my kids is important to me. There are 3 of them and my husband works full-time and then some, we have no nanny or regular babysitter, so it is a challenge, but so worth the effort!

Having special time dedicated to one child helps me learn about who they are as individuals, shows them how important they are to me, gives them undivided attention, and is a lot of fun! I get to do a puzzle of the United States with my 5 year old without having to stop every 20 seconds to rebuild part of the country that my toddler has bulldozed through. I get to play dollhouse with my 3 year-old without her older brother telling us how to play with them and without my 1 year-old stealing the little dolls.
I really think this regular alone time with Mommy helps my children be more patient when they do have to share my attention!

So, how to do it? Remember I am all about good advice but one of my pet peeves is somebody telling you it is a good idea to do something without telling me how, like when an allergist told me to keep my then 2 year-old son’s arm still for 15 minutes during his allergy skin test. How exactly do you propose I do that Doctor?

My oldest gets at least 15-20 min. each day with me after school when I send his younger sister and brother to play outside on our patio where I can see them through the window. He and I look over his papers from school, talk about his day, and he has a snack and does his homework. He also gets alone time by going on errands with Mom or Dad over the weekends or when we take him to friend’s birthday parties where only he is invited.

My 3 year-old gets about 20 minutes of alone time with mom where we play dolls and read books before her naptime after I’ve already put my 1 year-old down for a nap and while my 5 year-old is at school. Somedays I will feed my toddler early and put him down for an early nap so my 3 year-old and I can have a tea party lunch just the two of us. She also gets the alone time with a parent during errands or birthday parties where only she is invited.

I get alone time with my youngest the 2 mornings each week that both his older sibs. are in school. Now, I just need to work on it being more quality-sitting-on-the-floor-playing time, rather than he-is-sitting-in–the-cart-while-I-shop time!

My husband and I occasionally have dates with our kids individually on the weekends when the other 2 kids will stay home with the other parent. Also, we’ve allowed one child to stay up 30 minutes past bedtime to have one-on-one time with Mom & Dad playing a game.

Do you have one-on-one time with your kids and if so, how do you manage it?

Previous Works for Me Wednesday Posts:

The Privilege Chart
The Capture Monster
Music to Get Kids to Sleep
Ways to Save Money
Before They Leave Home
Great Children's Books

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.


  1. Sometimes on trips to town I will make a special time with one..otherwise I will call on one at a time to help with a cooking/baking project. It's really important that we remember this is good for each of them..what a great reminder thanks for this post!

  2. Great tips - scheduling and protecting the time. Extended bedtime is a great tool, too. As my family has expanded and the kids have gotten older in some ways it has gotten easier, and in some ways more challenging.

    With my 9 year old daughter we have a designated 30 minute tea time on the weekend when we read through the Beautiful Girlhood book together. This has grown into a great mentoring time as well. Now, I do kind of miss those crawl around on the floor games, but it is incredible to see them grow into amazing little adults, too.

    Cooking is another time that I use. I'll pull one child in as a helper while the others play not far away. My three year old is especially great with this right now. It's kind of our time.

    Thanks for the encouragement and ideas in this area,

  3. I fully plan on doing similar stuff when we have another little one in the house. all of these seem to work out good for you. thanks for the tips.

  4. Those are all good ideas. I tend to manage a little one on one time with them every day. I play puppy on the floor each and every morning. I posted about it on Saturday if you care to look at it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. These are all good ideas. Another thing I like to do from time to time is to call one of the children to help me with a task like fixing dinner or folding laundry. Most of the time the other child will stay away to avoid being directed to a chore, and the one helping me can chat away about whatever is on her heart.

  6. What a great post and a good reminder that I need to make sure to add in one-on-one time with my two little munchkins throughout the day. I oftentimes have one-on-one time with my 3-year old when I take her on little errands just the two of us. My 18-month old and I spend some time together after his nap time, but before his big sissy gets up (he doesn't sleep as long as her!) Thanks for popping in my blog for WFMW.

  7. Thanks for the reminder to make regular one on one time with my kids. I try to have dates with them once a month. I love your idea because it is so practical and regular. I am going to try to figure out a schedule to squeeze in special time for each of my kids.

    My latest post: WFMW: Free Magazines

  8. What a great reminder. The girls get their mommy and daddy time - and we love to give it to them!

  9. I have not had anything actually planned out before, but this gave me some ideas. Thanks for posting!

  10. I LOVED this post!

    This is something that is really important to us, but is very difficult to manage!

    Right now we have "dates" but they are not as regular as we would like them to be.

    I also just try to take anytime that I can during the day to enjoy a little one on one time.

  11. Great post! Nothing can make me feel more guilty than realizing that it's bedtime (again) and I still haven't connected with one or another of the kids.

    Thanks for the nudge to figure out how to make it happen.

  12. This has been resonating across several different posts. I definitely need to do this more often. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I only have two kids, so one on one time with the 3 year old is usually when the baby is sleeping. As a newborn, he slept a lot, and now he is gradually starting to be awake more. My husband spends a lot of time with our 3 year old, but I'd like to be able to be alone with him more. Thanks for the post!

  14. I have a newborn, so it's hard for me to get away, but hubs and dd have a date every saturday, running all the errands that need running, while i have some quiet time with the baby.

  15. We do that too. It's difficult, but possible. Great post. We have a 13 year old and an 8 year old - only two. We always referred to it as "man to man" defense with two kids. We knew if we had a third child, we were going to have to move into "zone defense" and it would have been even more challenging. Good job! It sounds like you've found a balance that really works.

    Love the PRACTICAL part where you tell us exactly how you do it. Thanks!

  16. I think this is great. My older children and I often go out on "special days" where it's just the two of us, but I totally need to do this more often. Thanks for the nudge in that direction.

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