Giving Children Our Undivided Attention: How To Make It Work

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How To Give Children Undivided AttentionIf you caught Part One of my series on parenting challenges, you will know that my latest parenting challenge has been trying to make sure my girls get enough undivided attention. In a multiple child household, I am finding this to be quite challenging at their current age (FYI they are almost 6 years old). After giving it some thought, I decided on a few different ideas that we have begun testing out to be able to carve out some one-on-one time with our children.

After a few months of doing so, I can tell you that when we put in the effort, we have had much success.

The girls love and look forward to their one-on-one time so much. The two main issues that prevent this that we have had to work around are finding enough time in an already jam-packed schedule, and dealing with the inevitable bickering of who gets to have one-on-one time with whom.

As I mentioned in my last post, I do realize that things may be a bit more complicated with three or more children and these ideas presented here may take some tweaking. But, as I have said before, when there is a will, there is a way; and I truly hope all families can find a way to make this work!

 

Here are six different ways to give children undivided attention that we have been trying in our home:

 

Reading Before Bed

This actually used to be something that we did quite often. But as the years get busier, our bedtime routines have gotten more hectic. On the instances where all pre-bedtime tasks have been completed with time to spare, it always works out well to have some reading time before bed.

We let our girls each pick out 2-3 books and we go in separate rooms, one child with each parent, and have story time.

Sometimes this story time turns into discussions rather than reading, and this is always welcomed as well. This one-on-one time before bed has always proven to be enjoyed by both parent and child in our experience.

 

One-On-One “Dates”

By far the most popular choice for our undivided attention, these one-on-one dates are becoming more of a regular thing in our household. At this time, we try to have these outings weekly on either a Saturday or Sunday.

We set aside a few hours and alternate which child goes with which parent.

Our children get to plan out their special time and choose what they want to do. For the most part, we let them choose whatever they desire, as long as it isn’t too costly. As a family, we have come to very much enjoy and look forward to these times.

If you have multiple children and you have not yet tried this out, I highly recommend this. In Part Three of this series, I will offer several suggestions of things to do for one-on-one dates because sometimes the most intimidating part is coming up with what to do!

 

Extracurricular Activities

If your children have different interests in so far as what types of sports or activities they would like to participate in, I think this would be the perfect opportunity to sneak in some alone time with a parent. If schedules allow it, take your children separately to their activities so you can chat with them alone in the car on the way there.

If logistically you have multiple children together but only one participating in a particular practice or activity, use that time to spend quality moments with the child or children not participating in the activity.

How To Give Children Undivided Attention

 

Child-Directed Play

This is one idea that I read some time ago in the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (an amazing book by the way). The goal here is to allow your children to choose an activity they want to do alone with a parent.

To make it realistic, keep the timing short so this can happen more frequently.

This can be simple things such as doing a puzzle, playing LEGOs, coloring together, etc. Set a timer and make a promise to your child that they will get your undivided attention during this special time.

 

Cooking Dinner Together

Now, I personally have tried to do this with my girls a few times and my OCD nature just hasn’t been able to graciously deal with the mess…but I am working on it! Cooking with your child not only allows you to spend a bit of quality time with them, but also allows a sense of teamwork in working towards a common goal.

Partnering on a goal also promotes bonding.

Do this with one child at a time, alternating either days or which dish you cook together. Even if it’s something very simple, or not done often, the times that you do will likely become very special for your child.

 

Homework Time

This is something that we are just beginning to become accustomed to in our home. Although maybe not the most fun activity to do together, working with your child on homework can certainly be a way to show them your undivided attention.

The most important thing when it comes to this topic though, and something I am guilty of myself, is being sure to keep frustration out of the equation.

Show your child an abundance of patience and grace so that this may actually be an enjoyable, bonding moment for your both.

 

I challenge all you mamas out there to try out a few of these ideas this month, and even try and make them part of your regular routine if you are not currently. The more that we work on this in our family, the more of a difference I see it make in everyone’s attitudes and behaviors!

In this day and age of BUSY, it is important to stop and reconnect as often as possible. And I hope these ideas help us all to do just that!

 

Undivided attention

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Mikaeya is a Kansas City native that recently found her way to Southern California while helping her husband to chase his dreams. She is a woman that wears many hats and is not only a wife and mother to twin five year old girls, but also a pediatric dentist and healthy living blogger. She resides in Mission Viejo where her and her husband and mother in law run a family dental practice - Sunshine Smiles Of Orange County. Outside of the dental office, you can find her and her family soaking in the sun and outdoor activities that their new California home offers them. Mikaeya lives by her motto: SMILE, Life Is Good! You can follow along with Mikaeya on Instagram (@coloryourhealth) or on her website (www.coloryourhealth.com).