Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Works-for-Me Wednesday: One-on-one Time with my Kids

I have consistent one-on-one time with my kids. I spend time with each one of them, separately.

I've been doing this for about 3 weeks now.

My new system is working. What's even more exciting is how much the kids enjoy it. They talk about our time together. If we've had a busy afternoon, they will ask if we are going to have our time in the evening. They long for it.

If you'd asked me last year, I'd have had no idea how to achieve consistent one-on-one time with my 4 kids. I had one-on-one dates with the kids but I wasn't getting that personal time on a consistent basis.

One night about a month or so ago when I was making my bedtime rounds, visiting each child in their bed, I realized that I wanted more time with each of them. They wanted to talk to me. I'd be trying to get them in bed and they wanted answers to questions or they wanted to tell me a story. We needed more time together- individually.

I don't remember what inspired my idea. All I can tell you is that it is working wonderfully for us.

Our One-on-One Time

I set up an area for our time together in a room away from the family room. I put up a card table and two folding chairs. In our house, this is set up in the office. The key is to have it in a room where you can have privacy (where you can shut the door).

We are consistent. Every school day, we have our "office time". I was going to call it "table time" but the kids took to calling it "office time" and the name stuck.

The kids know what to expect.
When I am with one child, the other children know it is not their turn. They have to wait. They can read or play, as long as they are not right outside the door making noise.

The time together is somewhat routine.
We talk about school and take care of school items (papers, planners, reading together).
I ask them to tell me their low point and high point of their day. Sometimes I learn such interesting information during this time!
We are all now working on scripture memory. I also take time to pray with them. I've had conversations about faith with each child, at their own level.
The time is "somewhat routine" because I am not rigid about anything. It is relaxed. They can talk to me. They have my attention. I listen. I asked questions and I listen.

Why I think it's incredibly important:
I need to talk to my children at their level. For example, I talk to my 9 year old about things that I wouldn't talk to my 5 year old about.

It is helpful to talk about issues (like my 5 year old pushing a kid, my 7 year old getting moved for talking too much in class, and my 9 year old dealing with mean things that kids say) without the influence or listening ears of siblings.

It's a goal. I don't fail when the time isn't incredible. Some days the time is longer than other days. We are not consistent (or successful, really) about doing it on Saturday and Sunday. I don't usually do this with my 2 year old -though I have read books to her at the table so she would feel special. She gets lots of Momma's attention when the boys are at school. (Today's special moment was pretending our couch was a boat and we had a ship full of (stuffed) animals.)

Be sure to stop by Kristen's place to read other wonderful Works-for-Me Wednesday Posts: We Are That Family


Missy said...

JA, I love this. I am definitely going to try this, although mine will probably look a little differently considering the ages and our schedule.

Thank you for sharing this.

Colette said...

What a great idea from a great Mom!

McCrakensx4 said...

Jane Anne...that is great. I tend to talk to the boys on our way to places in the car, but really never 1 on 1. I have started taking them out on dates though. Brendan & I went out on Sunday afternoon, just us. It was great to be able to just focus on him. I am sure your kids are loving having you all to themselves even for those few minutes...special moments for sure. You are such a great mom.

Mimi said...

This is such a great thing to do! Now that my boys are teenagers I often take them out to a diner for lunch to spend one on one time. It seems like being out of the house with just them opens them up more!

Hugs & love,

Foursons said...

Great job Jane Anne. Your children will reap the rewards of your love for them.

Let'sMakeADifference said...

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It Feels Like Chaos said...

This is great! I, too, desire one-on-one time with my kids but don't feel like I consistently get it in as much as I'd like.

Caroline Mukisa said...

Great idea! I do try to catch my kids individually in the day , especially since I notice their behaviour is a lot better when I do it, but organizing it like you have would make it more efficient.