Parents love the look on their children’s faces when they give them some sort of gift or surprise. But of all the gifts parents can give their kids, the one that means the most is the one that costs nothing to give. Time.
Spending family time together is important. But children require individual attention. So, parents need to mindful of making one-on-one time with each of their children. And while balancing schedules might require some divide-and-conquer planning by mom and dad, the benefits reaped from one-on-one time with kids are plentiful.
Kids See Their Value
Life is busy. Both parents work in many families. Kids have after-school activities all week. And weekends are filled with chores and home improvement projects.
Making your children a priority in your schedule shows them that they are valued. You opted to spend what little free time you have with them. That makes them feel needed and loved.
The time spent with your child also helps the two of you develop a deeper bond. Their overall happiness increases and their development improves. Maybe you don’t have the time to spend the day together every weekend. But you can certainly find 15-20 minutes in your day.
Decreases Attention-Based Behavior
Almost everyone knows a parent with a child that engages in attention-seeking behavior. In most cases, there’s a reason that children behave in such a manner that often lands them in time-out.
Often their reason for acting that way is they are seeking your attention. And any attention is good attention. Making one-on-one time for your children provides them with what they are craving – you – and will eliminate the type of conduct that forces you to focus on them.
Kids Are Open Books
The older your children get, the more the conversation topics change. That’s especially true in the teenage years. Kids need your advice about a bevy of topics; some of which can be awkward to bring up at the dinner table.
Spending time alone with your teenager provides the opportunity to discuss topics that they might not be comfortable asking your spouse. Girlfriends or boyfriends, friendship cliques, and the usual high school angst brought to the surface by adolescence are typical subjects that sometimes need a private talk.
Ideas for One-On-One Time
Coming up with ideas for quality one-on-one time can seem daunting. Don’t assume that you need to plan or create an event. Finding the time is as simple as looking for it.
- Walk the dog: As soon as you get home from work, grab Fido’s leash, and invite your child along for a good walk. What better way to get some quality talk time while your dog takes care of business?
- Beach day: Grab a blanket, some snacks, sunscreen, and beach it up for the day. The ocean is a great place to get in touch with nature while sitting on the sand all day leads to quality time with your child.
- Visit the Park: Swings, slides, and sandboxes; the main staples of any local park. What kid doesn’t love the park? Stopping for ice-cream on the way home can be the frosting on the cake of a great day.
- Board games: If playing board games bring back memories of great times with your parents, why not make those types of memories now that you have children?
- Movie night: Quality time doesn’t always need to involve the gift of gab. Order some takeout and kick back with a fun movie at home.
- Books at bedtime: Some of the best times you’ll spend with a child involves reading books before tucking them in for the night. Who says magic isn’t real?
Raising children can produce some of the most magical moments of your life. But it certainly comes with its shares of challenges. Spending one-on-one time with a child is one manner of positive parenting that works to ensure a stronger bond as you both grow.