Monday, December 5, 2016

One on One Time

It's not hard to imagine that with three children 3 and under it is close to impossible to find quality alone time with each child.  So much of the day and my time is spent simply meeting the feeding/cleaning/juggling demands of the kids that before I know it we're doing the mad dash through dinner and bed time and I worry if I gave each child enough attention.  Now that Reese is in preschool a couple of days a week I have some alone time with twins.  I wish I could break that time down even more into solo time with each boy but for now I have to steal moments where I can.  Last week I really tried to make and concerted effort to single out each one of the kids and do something fun with them.  One morning after dropping Reese at school the boys and I made our way to the zoo.  We try to make it the zoo a few times a month (we get every penny's worth of our pass!) but I rarely go with just the boys and we had a great time! 


Now that the twins have dropped their morning nap my one on one time with Reese has really become hard to find. With two wild 17 month olds who are ALL over the place and can't be left unsupervised, it feels nearly impossible to focus my attention solely on Reese for fun time.  But the other day the boys were playing  independently (quiet! happy! gasp!)  so my best girl and I broke out paint and created a few masterpieces.  As I watch Reese transition from the toddler years into the little kid phase, I want to soak up all her sweetness as much as possible.  I made a promise to myself to try harder to carve out this sort of time with her for at least 20 minutes a day (try being the key word here).  Our little 30 minute paint session won't be something I'll soon forget.
Feeling stressed trying to divide your attention?  Here are my tips for carving out solo time when you have more than one child.
  • BE FLEXIBLE.  I have found, in my short few years as a parent, that things rarely go as planned.  If I have a fun activity planned you can bet the house that something will go awry and I'll be bummed that I never got to it, further spiraling me into my end of the day mom guilt.  A couple of kids are playing happily?  Grab the kid who you feel the least connected to recently and do something special together right then and there.
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Quality time doesn't have to be an outing or even something that costs money.  Reading a book together, drawing, or building blocks together for 10 minutes here and there adds up BIG time throughout the day and can make a huge difference in your relationship with your child as well as your feelings of efficacy as a parent.
  • SCHEDULE AN OUTING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. This really only works with kids who are a bit older but planning something for a few days away can really add some excitement to an otherwise mundane task.  "Want to take a special trip to Target this weekend, just the two of us?!"  May not be as cool or exciting as the Children's Museum or Zoo, but if you get creative you can make just about any errand special one on one time!

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