17 Dec 2014 Spending quality time with kids
by Katelin Whiddon
You just think that things are complicated when you have an only child, but any parent with more than one child will tell you that things go to a whole new level when you bring additional children into the mix. It becomes more difficult to connect with each child individually and sometimes you have to make changes to your schedule to allow for these special times.
While it’s certainly great to do things as a whole family, it’s also important to connect with each child individually to see what is going on with their school, friends, interests, etc. Go on a date with your individual children and let them make some choices about where to go, what to order from the menu — things they may not normally get to choose. This could even be something simple like taking lunch to a child at school and eating with them — of course this will go over better with younger children generally, so get these great opportunities in while you can!
My husband and I have very busy, sometimes random schedules, but recently we had errands we both needed to run and figured it would be easier to split them up and split up the children also. We each had such a great time with each child and enjoyed the one-on-one time. It was also amazing how easy it was to manage only one child at a time. And we were able to incorporate needed errands into our one-on-one time.
I understand that “going out” is often pricey and adds up quickly, and these special dates can take place at home, too. Let a child have his/her specific day or night and put it on the calendar. On that day, let them choose what you have for dinner and maybe pick a game to play or a movie to watch. These are ways that you can still spend time as a family together, save money and still let a child have a “special day.”
Another fairly normal activity that can be enjoyable quality time is “fixing things” together. This may be some type of small thing that needs to be worked on at home like replacing light bulbs, cleaning or repairing a small appliance or even having children help bake a cake or muffins (my daughters’ personal favorite). These small tasks are a fun way that they can “help” and you spend some quality time together. And you are teaching them that chores around the home are important.
Of course, every family and their budget and interests are different, so these may not be the right fit for everyone, but parents can find a way to have special moments with their kids.
The act of spending that quality time together and getting to spend time with individual children is something you’ll never regret.
A native of Conway, Katelin Whiddon is a family nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.