I have three children, for some that seems like a lot to keep up with while others have far more children than me and see it as less of a challenge. Having children, no matter how many can always lead to a juggling act. Some are juggling work, family and home while others juggle home and family only. Whatever you are juggling, we all know as parents that a 12 hour day doesn’t ever seem long enough. I am here to share with you what I do to ensure I make time for each of my children, specifically my youngest, as well as share a few tips on how I make it all work!
With my middle child being different than my other two, having a previous mood disorder & anxiety diagnosis but awaiting an autism evaluation, you can imagine my hands are full. It’s often difficult to realize I haven’t paid one ounce of positive attention to my other two children because Aj had me so preoccupied tending to his needs. Due to Aj needing so much of my attention, energy and strength I have to be very conscious of paying positive attention to my other two children; why? Because it’s important that my other two children know I do love them just as much as Aj and that they are just as important. It’s also important to pay positive attention to my other two children because I don’t want them to start to have bitter feelings towards myself as a Mom who may not pay them enough attention nor having those feelings about their special needs brother. It’s not Aj’s fault he requires more attention and time from me, it’s no one’s fault.
For my youngest it’s easy to spend positive attention time with him because he is pretty simple. At age 5 the most important thing you can do for K-man is to pay attention to what interests him. K-man doesn’t really care if you are truly interacting but he does care that you are physically and mentally there in the moment playing cars, Legos or blocks with him. Our most recent time together involved him setting up his many vehicles in his room and me attempting to make a race track for him. We had a blast and it only required about 15 minutes of my time before dinner. That’s another good point; the amount of minutes per child doesn’t seem to have mattered to my children. Just a simple 15 minute time allotted for each child to have your undivided attention makes for the difference between a child acting out to get any form of attention versus a child who can have patience knowing they will get the positive attention at some point that day.
I must admit spending a minimum of 15 minutes positively interacting with each of my children really changes their moods. My K-man tends to enjoy any attention he can get and if you are not giving him enough positive attention, he will seek out the negative attention. Aj is more simple, he doesn’t seem to feel the need for a lot of one on one time but I am working on getting him to be more interactive at a comfortable-for-him level. My oldest and only daughter tends to drift off the grid a bit when her brothers are requiring more time from me, but I do ensure that my daughter and I get a Mom/Daughter day every so often and I also make sure to spend 15 minutes minimum with her at end of day after her brothers are asleep. This has helped us build a bond stronger than a herd of elephants.
Four Tips on How to Ensure your Children Get Positive Parent Time
- Know Your Children – Out of everyone in the whole world you should be the one person who knows what makes your children happy. If they enjoy Legos, play Legos. If they enjoy chatting about their life, listen to them chat. If they want to read books, pretend play or so on, do that with them. Ensure you are engaging in one on one time that is based on an activity your child loves to do.
- Realize It’s Quality not Quantity That Counts - Spend a minimum of 15 minutes each day with one on one time. The magic number I have found that works best is a minimum of 15 minutes each day per child. Be sure to set a timer so that when it beeps they know their time is up. Also be sure to set aside your cell phone and give your child your 100% undivided attention. Kids know when you are not “really there”.
- Remind Your Children to Respect Their Sibling’s One on One Time – Be sure to get your other children engaged together or individually with something that will allot you the 15 minutes with their sibling. Remind each child that they too will get your undivided attention on their turn. This teaches the skills of manners, family bonding, and taking turns.
- Get in Touch with Your Inner Child – During these one on one time sessions remember, while you are this child’s parent, that this particular time with your child is all about having fun, being silly and connecting with them on their level. Have fun with it, be silly and creative, should I dare say be goofy?! It’s suppose to be fun one on one time, make sure that it is!
There you have it, a few ways I have ensured that I am raising my children to be happy and healthy. I hope these tips will assist you in gaining more positive one on one time with your children which will increase the bond you two have from now to forever.