Spending one-on-one time with your kids

I don’t know about you, but this summer has been a lot of togetherness for my three kids and me. I was an only child for much of my life, so the idea of having a gang of children always appealed to me. So my gang of three and I have been playing at the beach, swimming in pools, going to amusement parks, and having picnics. Sometimes we pick up a friend here and there but a lot of times it is the four of us.

I often wish I had time to spend with each of my kids alone, but struggle as to how to make that work. My 8 year-old daughter has even asked a few times, “Can it just be you and me Mom?” As a stay-at-home mother who works part-time from home, any babysitting time I have is basically devoted to work or exercise. We did go to the movies – alone – in the early summer and my daughter was beyond thrilled – it actually made me feel terribly.

My parents had my three siblings starting when I was ten, so with three small children and one older child, they were busy to say the least. My mom has said the one regret she had in raising us was not spending enough on-on one time with us.

I was just reading about Brad and Angelina (I am a hopeless celebrity junkie – in spite of myself) and how they make a point of spending alone time with each of their children each day. Ok, I know it is sad when I am reading US Magazine for parenting advice, but I am not holding back here. They do have a lot of help (like a staff of 20 I’m sure), so I can’t really emulate their lifestyle (but I can dream) but I am going to try and take even 5 minutes in each day to spend alone with each of my kids. Even if it’s reading a book, taking a walk, or running an errand, I do think it will make a difference.

My friend has this great tradition where she spends one entire day each year – close to the child’s birthday – with that child. The child gets to pick what they do – go out to lunch, go for a bike ride, go to the zoo, etc. It doesn’t sound like a lot – but talk about something your child will always remember. I am going to try and start doing this for my kids this year as well.

How do you spend one-on-one time with your kids and how do you fit it in? 

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Rachael Ray