One-On-One Time with Your Children

When you have multiple children, there's probably few opportunities to spend real, quality time with them individually.  Sure, there's the time when the older one is at school and you rush to the grocery store, doctor and park quickly before pick-up time.  But what about real quality time?  We recently had the opportunity to spend 4 full days and nights with our 22 month old while our 4 year old was away with his grandparents.  Here's what happened...

1.  I identified my weaknesses as a parent:
Many of the frustrations I was feeling with both of my children had to do with time management,  and specifically not having enough time to do the things I felt I "had" to get done and also my need for alone time.  So I learned that I need to make more time, get up earlier, get more day-time sitters and schedule less.  I'm a better mom when I have fewer expectations of the way the day is supposed to go and I take a little time to enjoy my kids and spend some time alone.  I also had the time to really pay attention and notice what makes Oliver laugh, what makes him frustrated, when he's overwhelmed (and thus likely to lose it) and how he engages with his toys.  I think those observations will help me appreciate him more... and they say gratitude is a key to happiness.

2.  I noticed how I can help better one of my son's weaknesses:
As the second child, Oliver will probably benefit from us sitting down and talking to him more often without the distraction and background noise of his older brother, TV, music or chores.  And I should probably be reading him more books!  All of these things seem to have helped with his speech delay in just 5 short days!

3.  I was able to really pay attention to who Oliver is right now:
Oliver, or "Crash" as my husband calls him, is probably the one who starts more of the trouble than I thought.  He's all boy.  He would probably love a more active day than he's getting lately as he's being shuffled from doctor's appointment to Sam's camp to the grocery store etc.  He also did great playing on his own which he doesn't get a lot of time to do with big brother in the house.

4.  It's good to shake up the routine: 
I don't mean changing up nap time or bedtime, but just looking at the day with a different perspective can be refreshing for everyone and a fresh learning experiences for kids.  Some simple ideas: eat breakfast outside, take time to let your child wonder down the street and pick up sticks, stop to watch the trains go by, throw coins in the fountain and take a long walk after dinner.

5.  It's a nice break for your marriage:
Let's be honest: fewer kids can mean less work which means more time and energy for your spouse.  My husband and I went to brunch, watched movies, chatted and cooked with fewer distractions and enjoyed our younger son together.   Obviously I wouldn't wish for any fewer kids, but every once in a while...

And with all this being said, I also realized how much I love them as brothers and how great it is that they have each other.  When Sam got home he gave me a quick hug and raced to find Oliver!  Sam is so thoughtful and cares so much for Oliver and Oliver looks up to Sam and follows his every move.  It's such a joy to watch their relationship grow and see how much they really do love and enjoy one another....most of the time :)

And to help foster that relationship, check out this great article by Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo about Sibling Rivalry, 5 tricks and tips.

And a few more thoughts on parenting...

1 comment:

  1. Heather, that was beautiful! It really is amazing when you get time to discover your "individual children" and not the "package deal!"
    Thanks for sharing this!


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