Have you ever considered the importance of spending specific and individual time with each one of your children? You’ve probably realized how beneficial “alone” time with your spouse is, and anticipate date nights with glee – and that one-on-one time used to strengthen the bond with your partner can do the same for you and your children.
Every child wants to feel valued and appreciated, but when you have more than one kiddo in today’s fast paced world, it’s all too easy to lose that individual, one-on-one bonding time. Genevieve Simperingham says, “Investing in regular quality time with your child…can result in your child generally feeling so much more settled, less stressed, more secure, confident and more cooperative. Creating quality time with each child also tends to greatly minimize sibling rivalry. Children crave quality time with their parents because they have such a deep innate and healthy drive for that attention.” She continues, “during one-on-one time, the child becomes the center of our world for that short time and they thrive on it, they need it…two people giving each other their full undivided attention and interest is absolute gold in relationships. It’s in these moments that the bond deepens and the experience can be incredibly profound and can unleash huge joy and love, deep insights and understanding.”
Each child is different and this can be a time to embrace their individual differences and really help them to feel loved and supported by you. By investing in individual quality time with your kids, you and your children receive many benefits. Here are a few of them, and why they are important:
- Feeling Loved and Important – This is important for any person at any age. Feeling loved, valued and important builds self-esteem and self-worth, which is necessary for a fulfilling life.
- You Model Good Behavior – Children often mirror their behavior after that of the people they spend the most time with. If they aren’t spending time with you and learning good behavior, habits, and morals from you, who are they learning them from?
- You Learn Your Children’s Strengths – When you spend one-on-one time with your child, you can start to identify his strengths, as well as begin to identify areas for improvement. Through this, you can help him grow as a person by building on his strengths and helping him reach his full potential.
- They Voice Thoughts and Feelings – Quality time with your children gives them the comfort level and time to share thoughts and feelings with you. When you are alone with one child she will have your undivided attention – she may share things with you she wouldn’t share in a group. It communicates directly to your child that you value her needs and desires.
- Developing A Stronger Relationship – One of the best, and most obvious things about spending quality time with your children is developing stronger relationships with them. Be sure that both parents are spending individual time with each child. This will help not only build memories, but also build trust.
- Decreases attention-seeking behavior – Children often act out in an attempt to get attention. It is built into our children to desire admiration and love from their parents. Spending time alone with each child will help there be less of a need to fight for your attention. (The Importance of Spending More Quality Time with Your Kids)
Finding ways to create one-on-one time may be easier than you think. Some simple day to day ideas include: helping her with her homework, running errands together, grocery shopping together, going for a walk, doing a puzzle, playing his favorite video game together, playing her favorite sport with her, or simply coloring a picture together. Becky Mansfield writes on her blog about how she makes each of her four children feel special. “Every month on our child’s ‘birth date’, they get to have ‘their night’ (example: our first son was born on August 29th, so every month on the 29th is his night. Our second son was born on April 18th, so the 18th of every month is his night). On their night, they get to stay up about 20-30 minutes later than normal and can pick to do whatever they want with us, but it can not be watching TV or playing on the computer (no electronics). We can play a board game, read a book, go on a walk, the kids help my husband change the oil in his car, or even bake quick 3-ingredient cookies. All of this is time that is focused on this ONE child.”
Meaningful connections are about quality of time, not quantity of time. Keep it simple, and connect with your children in ways that make sense for you and your family. Be assured that each connection has a lasting impact, and provides the support and reassurance that your children need.