Time with one child, without
their siblings around, can be hard to fit into family life. But whether you
have one child or five, that one-on-one time is really important for your
“Spending individual time with each of your
children is essential to ensure the child feels valued – both valued to their
parent and valued as a human being,” explains psychologist Dr Karen Phillip. “When a parent makes
time to spend with their child the child feels loved, noticed and respected,
and this adds worth to the child's self-esteem.”
Planning is Key
So, how can you find the
time for each child?
The truth is, every parent
finds it hard to fit everything into their week. And even though you might love
spending time with each individual child, that doesn’t make it easier to
squeeze into the busyness of family life.
That’s why it’s so important
to make a plan for that all-important one-on-one time. Phillip advises, “Schedule time for each child
during your week or weekend.”
Wherever you can fit
that time in, it will make a big difference to your children’s happiness. It
might be a good idea to even block out time in your calendar for each of your
Listen in to Your Child
One-on-one time also
builds happy childhood memories for your kids. “Your kids remember the time you spent with them,” says psychologist
Martine Oglethorpe – and that includes opening your ears to the big things and
the little things they want to tell you.
time with them helps reassure them that there’s always someone there to listen
to them,” Oglethorpe says. “Listening to the little things shows them you’ll be
there to listen to the big things.”
takes no time at all, and can be as simple as a chat while you’re making dinner
or looking them in the eye – without distractions – as they tell you a story about
their day or something straight from their imagination.
The Little Things Count
The best news is that
one-on-one bonding doesn’t have to take up lots of time, or be filled with
“Regardless of whether
it is just 15 minutes each week, any amount of time spent individually with
each child is precious to both them and the parent,” says Phillip.
What that time looks
like will be different for each of your children, too. It’s important to tune
into their interests, and take any opportunity to share in that with them.
“Time spent doing things your child enjoys, like
reading a book to them, throwing or kicking a ball, colouring in or playing is
great,” Phillip says.
These special snippets
of time together can happen in the middle of an ordinary day at home or, as
they get older, it can be as simple as a good conversation in the car. It’s all
about quality over quantity.
With a little planning, each
child in your family will feel the love.
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