Sharing our time
As our family grew, we realised that our eldest would no longer get the lion’s share of one-on-one time with us. Of course, we knew this was a possibility the moment we started to discuss a second kid. However, it was not even a month or two after her arrival, that our first child said those dreaded words, “you never have any time for me”. I had read in a parenting magazine that the best approach was quality time, rather than quantity. So I stuck to reading aloud for 10 minutes, or having a lounge picnic during a cat nap. But in general, everywhere we went, there was that sibling.
Five years on, and our eldest will still occasionally mutter under her breath about having some “real one-on-one” time with me. The mistake I made all that time ago was two-fold. Firstly I didn’t ask her what she considered quality one-on-one. Secondly, when our eldest showed no interest in my mundane errands, I stopped taking her. So now, not only was our five year old getting all this quality time with mum, hanging out at the supermarket or the post office; but she was also there if the trip was fun.
Finding our happy place
I knew something had to change, and so we sat and we talked through what she wanted to have happen. To her, quality time was just me and her doing something fun. She understood that her sister didn’t want to miss out and so I couldn’t agree to take her to an amazing show or exhibit alone. However, we realised that with the five year age gap, there are many movies that I want to see and she wants to see; but the younger sister is too young to enjoy. This has lead to more movie time for us both.
Another thing she loves is doing some more technical work for her YouTube channel and she likes to get my help with that. So we have been breaking away to do a bit of stop-motion animation. I mainly give advice and we share a giggle. We have also found a television series on Netflix that we watch together. It’s a pre-teen drama, with some magic thrown in and we just blob together and enjoy the story.
Here are some things that you could do with your own child for some special one-on-one time. Remember to ask them what they would like to do as well. It doesn’t have to cost a thing, as long as it’s something they are into and that they can see the real prize – quality parent time.
- Cuddle up and read a book or watch something together
- Have a picnic – inside, outside, in the backyard – wherever!
- Take your child to their favourite place – the Chocolate Lounge is my eldest’s favourite. The younger likes to go for donuts or cupcakes.
- Play a board game or card game
- Pass on a skill – teach them how to do something. It could be as simple as how to use a bit of technology or an app you found. Or it could be how to plant a vegetable garden.
- Go for a walk – check out geocaching, painted rock hunting or just explore your neighbourhood
- Make something together – a craft, art piece or a machine. One of my eldest’s favourite memories is building her bed with me!
- Take a look at YouTube for some basic yoga, or fun dance moves, and give it a go
- Show them how to style their hair, apply makeup or nail polish
- Chat about anything and nothing
It also helped a lot for my daughter to know when the date would be happening, if it was a set thing. Not everything has to be to a schedule, but sometimes it is hard to exclude the younger when it’s a spur of the moment thing.
What kinds of things do you do with your child for quality one-on-one? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
This article was written by Kym Moore. Kym is a working mum of two, and occasional blogger. Fancies herself a writer, when she isn’t editing her kids’ vlogs or running their social media at Baby Likes Cake. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube.
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