Sometimes our schedules get so hectic that it can be difficult to spend real quality time with each of our children. You may spend a lot of time together as a family, but it’s also important to do things individually with each child.
Parents will likely find that things run more smoothly in the home when they spend one-on-one time with their children, according to mom and actor Andréa Bendewald. She suggests that when tensions are running high between siblings, take each child aside separately for some alone time. It’s important to do this even if you only have a few minutes to spare. The key is to make sure you give the child you’re spending time with your undivided attention. Allow them to speak openly with you and give them the freedom to express any feelings they are having. Once they feel their concerns have been acknowledged and their viewpoints appreciated, there will probably be a lot less disharmony in their relationships with you and other family members.
One-on-one time helps you stay connected to each of your children. Even if you can’t get out of the house, don’t let that stop you from creating what psychologist Laura Markham calls “special time” for each child. During this time, turn off your phone and your computer. Don’t allow interruptions, and don’t get distracted. This is a good time to have a talk with your kids about anything that may be troubling them or something they’re excited about. Do this every day, if possible.
Treat time with your kids as if it is an important meeting that can’t be rescheduled. Author and educator John Badalament says that busy dads should schedule personal time with each child on a regular basis. The same goes for mothers who juggle work and other obligations with family time. Make sure to differentiate this time from your routine activities. Even though you may do things like eat dinner or watch television together each day, this shouldn't be counted as one-on-one time. If you make an effort to regularly give kids your undivided attention, they will be more likely to confide in you about important things as they get older.