Make time for a one-on-one with your child

Make time for a one-on-one with your child

It was N who reminded me that one activity on her list of ‘things to do after exams’ was pending. With just a weekend left for school to reopen we are struggling to get through said list. She had labelled this activity ‘N and mama day’. That reminded me of my resolve to set aside separate ‘we time’ for each child. Despite my best intentions that hasn’t happened frequently enough.

Though we try hard to look out for both of them, they do end up sharing a lot more than just their room. Individual attention is not always possible.

Why it is so tough

Even if you have a single child you might like to think about how much time you set aside to spend with him or her alone, away from your gadgets and chores, when you give the child your complete attention doing something he or she enjoys as much as you do. With two children (or more) it becomes even more difficult to make time for each one separately.

First, there are practical issues, specially in a nuclear family like mine where another family member isn’t around to be with the other child. Then there’s the fact that H and N suffer from a huge case of FOMO only and only when the other sibling is involved. So handling the ‘why not me?’ is hard.

However, they are growing up

…which is a great thing because they’re old enough to be left alone. Their interests are becoming more defined and diverse and they’re getting less clingy.

That they still clamour for alone time with me is extremely gratifying. It also makes me ever so aware of the time when they won’t want me around at all and reminds me to make the most of this time.

We are able to hold more meaningful conversations and share deeper secrets. That makes talking-to them ever so satisfying. Oh, they have plenty of secrets to share. You’d be surprised about the things they tell me when we’re alone. I have to remind myself constantly to keep my face impassive and my comments non-committal but It really is a lot of fun.

Also, I am hoping these moments will be the building blocks for the time when they will really need advice or support for serious issues as they enter their teens.

Here are a few more reasons why a one-on-one is such a great idea.

Why one-on-one time with each of your children is a great idea Click To Tweet

It is the best time to share secrets

If I were to name one single reason for alone time this would be it. One might think siblings, specially twins, would share their deepest darkest secrets with each other. Not true. I find they open their hearts much more readily when they are alone with me. We’ve talked about troublesome teachers and bullying coaches, heartbreak over lost friendships and all kinds of real and imagined insults.

It gives them a sense of ‘self’

Since when the children were babies I’ve encouraged them to be their own selves, to not be clubbed as two parts of a whole. Alone time reinforces the fact that as a parent I appreciate them separately for what they truly are.

It is great for their self-esteem

..because for that half hour or one hour they have mine or The Husband’s complete attention. And that tells them how important they are.

It helps ease off sibling rivalry

Individual attention takes away the need for them to fight for it. Oh it’ll be ages before they admit it, even to themselves. Don’t we all grow up believing our parents love the other sibling more? However, I am hoping once they realise they don’t have to fight for our attention the edge shall wear off their rivalry.

It is extremely relaxing as a parent

..because this is the one time I can agree or disagree with that one child without worrying about appeasing the other. It’s a huge relief to focus on one child’s needs, his triumphs and failures even if it is for a little while only. Also, I’m not sure this holds for everyone but my children are the soul of decency when they’re separated from their twin. They offer to carry my bags, aren’t fussy about food, pick up thoughtful gifts for the other one and even refuse a second helping of ice-cream!

And so we’ll be heading out to the mall for some girl-time. After all that ‘Things to do after exams’ list is sacrosanct.

Do you make an effort to spend a one-on-one time with your child? What’s your favourite ‘together’ activity?

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

17 Replies to “Make time for a one-on-one with your child”

  1. Spending time with Kanna wasn’t a problem until the little one came along. We used to talk, make plans, do art works, read together, play, and discuss whatnot. But now it is difficult, though we are managing to find time to spend one on one daily. I hope to develop a similar rhythm and understanding with my younger one too. Individual attention to each child is much needed for the very reasons you have pointed out. They like our attention, what’s not to live about it, right?

    1. I can imagine how hard it would be to make time for the older one with a baby at home. This is exactly why we need to set aside time. Our lives are so packed with things to do and also because our children are always around/near us it becomes easy to forget to set aside time exclusively to listen to them.

  2. This is a wonderful read as always, Tulika. And while I do not remember my parents setting aside any such times for me or my brother in my childhood, I do make it a point to take out at least an hour every day with my Lo, when ,my phone is kept miles away and and the laptop stays firmly shut. We do several different things that time, ranging from reading to just chi-chatting, to bitching about some people – it helps immensely – and sometimes even lead my Lo to think that he is my confidant 😉 (That does backfire sometimes, but hey, what really matters is that I give him that time!) And like you, I too hope that this is a foundation for more serious discussions in the future. Fingers crossed 🙂

    1. I love the idea of setting aside a distraction free time to be with your child. Giving him/her the impression that he’s your confidant is just so cute. I can imagine how important that would make him feel.

  3. Tulika, I still accuse my mom of being partial to my younger brother, and I am 53 years old 🙂 Spending time alone with each kid is very important. I did with my kids when they were younger, now they have their own lives and careers to manage. I feel left out at times but my hubby dear takes me on short trips to take my mind off empty nest and neglected feeling syndromes 🙂 Love reading about your loving and thoughtful posts about your children. God bless.

    1. Ha ha Sulekha, that’s cute. H and N also have a huge case of sibling rivalry. You’ll here the phrase ‘That’s not fair’ a thousand times a day in our house. As of now an empty nest doesn’t seem like such a bad idea – long peaceful days full of books and television! But I know when the time comes I will be longing for their company.

  4. I still love spending alone-time with my mum! It’s something so special..I am sure your kids will cherish these moments and look forward to it more and more once they are grown up..when you will be not just their mother, but also their best friend, like my mother is mine!:)

  5. So true. One on one time is essential. I too have two kids and i feel difficult to spend time with one alone as we too dont have support from anyone except my husband. My little one just turned 3 and since he is not going to school yet i get more time with him. I like to spend more time with my elder son other than making him do homework. We both love painting and making crafts together.

  6. I don’t remember having my time just with Mum set aside but I used to share a lot. So I would walk up to her in the kitchen and talk my heart out. So you are right, that for all those reasons children should get time to talk. Thoughtful post, Tulika. Let us know things you both did together 🙂

    1. Me neither Parul. I think our parents never needed to think and plan so much about parenting. This bit is important for me one, because I have twins with almost identical schedules. Perhaps for children with an age difference some amount of alone time would be built into their schedules. Also two, because there is no one else at home to hear out their secrets and their worries.

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