Friday, August 01, 2008

One-on-One Time with the Kids

Once my 2nd child was born I realized the need to spend one-on-one time with each child. I also quickly recognized that time was almost impossible to find. I had to work hard—really hard—to give each child individual attention. Each new child and all the new activities that come with having more children just multiplied my struggle.

I am so excited to have found something that works for me! This past month I tried out my new “Date with Momma” idea. It was met with enthusiasm from all.

Once a month I am going to go on a date with each child. The dates are scheduled on each child’s birthday anniversary. (For example, David was born on Sept 2nd so on July 2nd I took him out on a date.) This helps me because I have a date to plan around. This makes it intentional. The dates are going to be time slots of one-on-one time with Momma. I have explained to each child that some months it might be a bike ride with mom or a trip to the park with momma. Other months it might be dinner with mom or another activity (that costs a little bit of money). If we have something else that needs to happen on the birthday anniversary (like in July we were traveling during the week I would have had 2 Momma dates and I couldn't manage the time), we will just postpone the date a week.

What I realized last night as I was on my last July date is that I am benefiting from this as much as my children. The time is spent focused on laughing and loving my child. I am not distracted by my housework, other children, the computer, or anything else. I am not looking at my watch trying to mentally plan what’s coming next in my day. I am focused on my child. I am wrapped up in loving that child. I wanted to bless my children. I never imagined how much it would encourage me as a mom.

This month the kids all choose different activities. Oh ya, this month for the 1st date, I gave them each a choice when it was time for their date. They all made different choices. I think that highlights their individuality. David chose to go bowling. Thomas chose to go out for dessert. Jonathan chose to go swimming.

Here are some pictures of our 1st Dates:

I didn't take Elisabeth on a date. I am cherishing her special moments... like dressing her up in sweet dresses and letting her fall asleep in my arms. Here's the most recent picture of me holding her.


sarah said...

What a great idea! I will have to steal it!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I'm going to steal it, too! One time I came up with the not-so-brilliant idea of spending 30-minutes per day alone with each kid. Totally not reasonable. I think it lasted a day - if that. Since it was unachievable, we don't do anything. But, once a month is totally manageable!

Anonymous said...

(That was Kristen, BTW.)

Anonymous said...

We only have 2 kids, but I have been thinking of doing kind of the same thing because I get so focused on tasks instead of the kids and since I'm with them all day for homeschool, I feel like I'm with them so that's good enough. But, it really isn't. It doesn't count as that special time. I think for us it will work out that you get a special date with Mom one month and the other kid is with Dad. So, you'll get a date with a parent every month, alternating parents. I also thought their birthday day could just be their special day even if it's not the date day - like pick what's for lunch or dinner, pick the movie or game after dinner, ... My kids need a lot of practice letting the other one get the attention, so I think that would be a good thing. Thanks for the motivation.

Kimberly said...

I absolutely love this idea and am also going to need to steal it. Like Sharon, I have two kids. And they do have a very hard time with letting their sister get "the attention". It seems so weird to me because I am very certain that we don't favor one child over the other but it really seems as though they are in competition with each other when it comes time for family time. I just love this idea and I think it would be great since we only have the two to do as the Whites and let daddy take the other out while mommy takes one out!

John & Carrie said...

In our family, we call the birth date, the "monthiversary". On each child's monthiversary, we always take their pictures of just them. It is neat to then at their birthday pull up all the pictures taken that year on the 29th or the 10th and see how much they changed from month to month.