Quality one-on-one ideas

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.

One-one-one ideas

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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9 Comments

  1. kymmage 30/03/2018 at 11:16 pm

    My youngest recently decided that she would like to start a sport, so we are going to be doing that in the near future. I’m dreaming of early Saturday morning football followed by a hot chocolate somewhere – mum date! I suspect that the winter chill factor will take the shine of this pretty quickly ha ha

  2. SarahBlair 24/03/2018 at 11:05 pm

    With 6 kids and a 20 year age range I find it difficult to have one-on-one time with my kids. I am going to have to make a better effort to do so. I love that you said to ask what they want to do, they will often have better ideas than we will!!

  3. felicity beets 12/03/2018 at 5:03 pm

    i think that (once old enough) the great idea is to ask what they want to do as their answer may surprise you – and also good to try new activities that you enjoy together. Its also nice to have one on one time with each parent as well as time together as a family

  4. MuddledUpMolly 08/03/2018 at 2:38 pm

    Our daughter was born when our son was 6. We have also made sure that we have made time for him as a ‘big kid’ and also as our first born as we want him to be able to spend time with us that is undisturbed and special to us all. I think the best parents are the ones that actively make time for their children 🙂

  5. Mands1980 07/03/2018 at 4:45 pm

    I had my children close together at the time it was 3 under 3 so one on one time was very limited as I was so busy with all of them. Now though we can do some things like reading in bed in separate rooms. Doing sports with each child separately. I do still struggle with one on one as between after school
    Activities there is so much on last night I played uno the card game before bed and we also talk together by ourselfs.

  6. Bevik1971 05/03/2018 at 4:15 pm

    My two kids are 20 years apart lol! So the eldest is not at home and hasn’t been since before our 5 year old was born. She really has our attention without having to share with other kids (lucky for her!). However as I work full time and hubby is stay-at-home Dad, she really needs one-on-one time with her Mummy. So even if it’s just playing a make up game with her when I get home from work or helping with homework – it does make a difference to her 🙂 <3

  7. danielle2211 02/03/2018 at 9:59 pm

    I love the teach them something idea or get them to teach you something my son always wants to teach me to play Minecraft its not that bad. I do think I could be doing something else with my time but it’s a learning experience for us both he learns what it’s like to teach someone and that they can struggle. He learns to be positive and kind. And how to give instructions. Reading one on one is my big thing to do with the kids I think it’s a great thing you can do one on one with them. I love the idea of setting aside time and asking them what they consider good one on one time.

  8. Kjgee 02/03/2018 at 4:50 pm

    Some awesome ideas there!
    I have four kids – 10, 9, 2 (almost 3) and 12 weeks old. One on one time is difficult between school, sports, music… and life! So when we have one on one time it really needs to be quality time, and something they are wanting to be doing. But this doesn’t always mean we have to go out and “do” something. We can often turn a normal part of our day into quality time, and no it’s not always just me and the child especially with a toddler and baby around but I feel like this is a lesson in itself for them, they are a part of a family unit and we are a big family. I think it’s also important that they get quality time with their siblings too!

  9. Misskay80 02/03/2018 at 1:53 pm

    Some great ideas here. My two are quite close in age (14month gap) so feel its important to give them that special one on one time 🙂 My oldest and I will quite often take nature walks, whilst her younger sister has a nana or daddy day and visa versa.

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