Today I want to encourage you to implement a practice with your kids if you aren’t already doing this. Especially if you have a large family.
Being all together as a family is wonderful, but often to have true connection and growth in your relationship with your kids, one on one time is just the thing.
Whenever I am feeling disconnected with any of my kids. I know that one on one time is exactly what they need and exactly what I need.
Life is loud, messy and filled with lots of mundane moments, but one on one time with your kids allows you to bring some special focus into each and every day.
This doesn’t have to mean an elaborately planned day it can be simple squeezed in the everyday moments.
There are times in your kids lives that are particularly crucial for one on one time and even if the entire day is a busy chaotic mess if you can focus some time at these particular times your relationship with your child will grow and thrive.
Right when they wake up.
Full disclaimer: I am not a morning person. I want to drink my coffee, read my bible and journal in peace and quiet before I start meeting the days demands. With 4 kids ranging from 9 to newborn and some special needs, as well as homeschooling my day is filled with non stop demands. Over the last 4-5 years I have found it crucial to my motherhood and well being to wake up before my kids. Even though I don’t want to. I am 100% a better mom when I do. When I have had the time to myself first I can spend focused time as my kiddos wake for the day.
Now as I write this I am currently in my last newborn stage. As a foster mom I have been in baby mode for almost 10 years since my oldest was born, and even though tired, I forced myself to get up early. Right now I am sleeping in because my husband has a much more flexible schedule than he has ever had in our marriage and he unlike me is a morning person. So I am soaking up this last newborn stage and since baby still gets up in the night I am sleeping in til 7:30/8 at least 5 days of the week and it is GLORIOUS.
However I know I am not being the best mom I can be to my older girls because they usually wake before me right now! So please remember to give yourself grace for whatever season of motherhood you are in.
But as a general rule if you can wake first and take care of your needs you will be able to meet their need in a much better way.
We have the luxury of homeschooling so for now I allow my kids to wake on their natural schedule. And this is golden for our first one on one time of connection. This usually means my 4 year old wakes first as she is our early riser – usually starting the day between 5-6 – our morning one on one time is short and simple. I tell her how much I missed her while she was sleeping, which she always repeats back. She is super snuggly first thing so I work with that. I give her big hugs and kisses and sometimes read a book. Then I get her, her breakfast and she eats while watching some TV. If you know my daughter she is high energy and loud from the moment she wakes until she crashes at night. You may not agree but this TV time is crucial for our family. She happily eats her breakfast and stays quiet so her sisters are not awake and grumpy at 5am!
I strongly believe in rhythms for your family and if something is not working than to change it. This works for us. If she slept past 5am then I doubt we would start off with screen time but for now this is our rhythm. One on one time then TV time for her.
My older kids make their own breakfasts and their dad usually makes them a smoothie to go along with it. Again this is our rhythm for this season. And it doesn’t always look this way.
This allows me to get my morning routine in even if I didn’t wake before them and sometimes even get some work done. I know I am truly blessed to have such an incredible husband, who is so giving to his girls. God is so good.
Whoever wakes up next has their morning pocket of one on one time. My oldest can read a novel in one night so I often will use this time to ask her about her reading before bed the night before. My second daughter likes to tell me about her dreams or a book she is reading and is also very affectionate and physical touch is her love language so we will sit and snuggle for a minute! As she gets older I know these snuggles may not remain so for now I pull my 8 year old into my lap while I still can!
No matter what you do, make it intentional to have one on one time in their love languages as soon as they wake for the day. I have found this makes all the difference in how our day goes!
The next crucial few minutes for one on one time with your kids is right after school.
Now we homeschool, so this looks different now that it used to. Before it was a snack and sitting at the table to talk about their day. Now it is kind of shifting roles from teacher and student, back to mother and child. I just sit and chat with them separately about what they are going to do for the afternoon or ask them what they want to do on the weekend or for their next activity. Sometimes I sit one on one while they play an instrument and I take a turn to practice what they are learning too.
The final most important time for this one on none connection is right before bed.
Sometimes being a mom is hard, maybe that day you lost your temper and snapped at your kids or you simply were too busy to really connect. Maybe you were gone all day at work or your kid had a really rough day at school that they didn’t want to share with you.
I have found right before bed is when my kids are willing to open up the most. Often times it is because they are trying to delay going to bed but that is ok! Work with that! These moments before you tuck them in for the night is when you have the ability to connect so deeply with your child. You can help them through any burdens they had that day and ease them before they drift off to sleep.
We often have our deepest conversations about the future, Jesus, why we believe what we. do and how we can be better people right before bed.
To be honest this is often the hardest time for me as I am tired from the long day and I just want them to get to sleep so I can wind down and get to sleep myself so this is when I have to fight my sinful and selfish nature the most for the sake of my kids.
And you know what? I never regret it when I do. I often regret not taking the time for one on one connection before bed. It can often make our next day be a bit of a funk when we haven’t been intentional about this.
The last thing I want to mention on the topic of one on one time with your kids is dates. Sometimes it is simply me taking just one kid for an errand date, and other times it is a specific planned date for their interests. Either way I never regret it, and some of my most cherished memories are in these one on one times.
My goal is not to be my kids best friend. It is to be their parent and to raise them well but to raise them well you need a strong connection so that when the harder parenting moments come up like discipline and boundaries the relationship is still smooth because that connection is there.
Everyone, but especially our kids want to be seen, known and heard by the ones who love them the most.
I am certainly not perfect of this and the Lord gives me a lot of grace for the many times I screw up but being intentional in this area is one of the best ways I can parent and one of the best ways I can encourage you to grow in your parenting and connection with your children.
So I am going to give you a little challenge. Look at your calendar and see when you can carve out a date with each of your kids this week. Then I want you to put a reminder in your phone before bedtime, after school and when they wake up to have a few moments of one one one intentional time.