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Can I Really Fit In One On One Time With Multiple Kids?

Finding quality one on one time is hard with multiple kids! Try one of these totally doable ideas and easily squeeze in some alone time with each child. 

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With four kids, time isn’t something I have too much of. There are kids to take care of, meals to make, messes to clean and to-do lists that never seem to end.

But as much as I love the hustle and bustle of having a big family, I want each of my children to feel valued and loved – individually. Because they each deserve to be validated for the unique personalities they bring to our fun chaos. They’re more than just a group member.

And also, because I want a good relationship with each of them as they grow up!

But as busy moms, where are we supposed to find that time?

We often find ourselves pulled in so many directions. We know we should spend time with each of our kids, yet we can’t find time to take each of them on a date every week. So we’re left with that ever-present mom guilt.

But here’s the thing. As nice as it would be to take each child on a date for a couple hours each week, it’s just not sustainable. For me, that would be 8-10 extra hours per week! (That’s more date time than I get with my husband in a month these days!)

Spending quality one on one time with our kids is crucial, we know that. But what we often forget is that it doesn’t have to be a big production to make an impact.

In fact, this post is going to show you a few realistic, totally doable ways you can spend some time connecting with each of your kids. And none of them require anything extra in your already-packed schedule.

They require no planning and no budget. Just a little intentional effort on your part.

Sound doable?

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DOES ONE ON ONE TIME REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR MY KIDS?

Absolutely.

It gives you a chance to fill their cup. To spend some special time connecting with them, and validating them as your individual child.

I’ve also found that these are the times when my kids open up to me the most. They tell me things that they don’t have a chance to say when our family’s all together. And we can talk about things they’re too embarrassed to say in front of the group.

In a big family, kids learn pretty quickly that they have to share their parents. So when they get a chance to have them all to themselves, they relish it.

But they’re not the only ones who benefit. As parents, we get so busy juggling the group that it can be hard to see each child for who they really are. One on one time gives us the chance to know our kids better as they grow and develop their personalities and interests.

Because one day, they’re going to grow up. And they can still be our best friends.

I’ve always loved this quote. It’s an excellent reminder.

TELLTALE SIGNS KIDS NEED MORE ONE ON ONE TIME

Now, despite our best efforts, we’ll still have times where life gets in the way. We get busy, our routines change, and we just forget.

That’s ok and totally normal. But kids can be pretty predictable.

If too much time has gone by without meaningful connection, you might get one of these behaviors as a gentle (or not so gentle!) reminder:

  • Whining
  • Fighting with siblings
  • Being extra clingy
  • Throwing tantrums or being more emotional than usual
  • Lashing out at you

Of course, one on one time might not be the answer every time. But more often than not, taking time to connect and give kids your full attention will help get to the root of the problem.

READ NEXT: 20 Amazing Benefits Of Independent Playtime

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SIMPLE WAYS TO FIT IN ONE ON ONE TIME WITH YOUR KIDS

I love the idea of sneaking out for ice cream with one of my kids. Kid dates are a great way to spend time with each child.

But they’re not always doable.

Luckily, it’s possible to fit in quality one on one time with each child without adding anything extra to your schedule. (That’s great news for those of us with multiple kids!)

READ NEXT: Block Scheduling 101: What It Is, Why It Works, And How To Get Started

Here are a few ways to make the most of the time you already have with your kids – no matter how busy you are:

STAY UP 20-30 MINUTES PAST BEDTIME

Once a month, let one child stay up past their bedtime.

Pick a day for each child and set a monthly reminder on your phone. When it’s their turn, they get to pick how to spend their special time with mom and dad.

IN THE CAR

We spend so much time in the car as families. So take advantage of it when you can.

Have a no-phone rule and spend the time connecting. It’s a great time to talk, laugh, listen to music or just be together.

BEDTIME

With multiple kids, it’s much easier to do a mass “goodnight” and get everyone in bed as quickly as possible. After all, we’re tired at the end of the day!

But use this time for individual tuck-ins and goodnights. Hug and kiss each child and give them each your full attention, even if it’s only for a moment.

Quick Tip: Give your husband a chance to do this too. Each night, switch jobs – one parent takes care of bedtime and the other takes care of the kitchen (or gets a break).

The Peaceful Parent Starter Guide | This Time Of Mine

BATHTIME

Baths and showers take some time. So take advantage of it and connect with your kids.

If you have younger kids, community baths are easier, but occasionally do only one in the bath at a time and play with them.

If you have older kids, sit in the bathroom and talk with a child while they shower.

START A MOMMY AND ME JOURNAL

This is a great way to strengthen relationships.

When your kids are old enough to write, grab a notebook for each child and use it to write back and forth to each other.

Not only is it fun, but it also gives kids a safe way to tell you about things they might be embarrassed about. (Great for tweens and teens.)

READ NEXT: How To Talk To Your Young Kids About Pornography

LET THEM HEAR YOU PRAY FOR THEM

This last tip isn’t about spending one on one time with your child, but it has the same effect.

Help your children know they are special to you – individually – by praying for them out loud. Let them hear your concern and love for them in a powerful and meaningful way.

BONUS TIPS: CONNECTING FOR GOOD

When we look for it, we can find little pockets of time throughout our day to connect with our kids. And when we do find that time, we can make it even more enjoyable if we’re feeling calm.

The Peaceful Parent Starter Guide will show you how to begin creating simple systems in your life so you can become a more calm and confident parent!

Spending one on one time with our kids doesn’t have to be elaborate or take all day. All it takes is a little bit of intentional effort.

And the results will be worth it.

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