I was a young mother in my local Mom’s Club. One of the other mothers was a bit more experienced, a.k.a. She had 3 more children than I did. What impressed me about her was that not only did she have 3 more children, but she spent intentional one-on-one time with each of them individually every single day. Not only that, but she also homeschooled them all! I had enough trouble trying to figure out how to spend intentional time with 2 that weren’t in school yet!
Luckily, since then, I have learned how to spend intentional one-on-one time with each of my children every day. Before you put a halo on my head, I must admit that sometimes I stumble and fall. I backslide for a short time. Then I get back up on the horse and start again.
- It is important for my kids to feel like the special individuals that they are. They each have their own love language that needs to be recognized and met.
- When I spend intentional one-on-one time individually with my children, we have fun together.
- I get to know them better. I learn about what they need.
- It builds our relationship.
- It gives me a moment to breathe instead of trying to spin all the plates at once.
An Inside Look at My Family
Let me first set the scene. My children are currently three, six, and ten years old. The younger two are girls and the oldest is a boy. My girls are all about girly stuff–anything pink, flowers, dancing, ruffles, princesses, and tea parties. But they are also three years apart. My son is into soccer, dodgeball, cub scouts, computers, and science. You can see the differences.
Sure there are things we all like to do together. We can ride bikes, take nature walks, and go to the movies together, all as one big, happy family. Not to mention the fact that we homeschool, so we get more time together than most. We do as many of our subjects together as we can–science, history, read-alouds.
No matter how much my kids love each other, they need a little break sometime. They need to know how much they are loved and valued individually, not just as a collective. This is why it is so important to spend intentional one-on-one time with each of your children.
Now for the Big Question…How?
This is the tricky part–at least it can be without a little planning. Here are a few tips…
- The amount depends on how many kids you have, what your day looks like, how well your other children can entertain themselves, etc. I suggest spending at least 10 minutes with each child. It may not seem like much, but it’s a start! Plus, if you have 3 kids or less, 30 minutes is very doable even on your busiest days.
- Write it in your planner. Just as you look at your day and schedule appointments, schedule in time with each of your children. This helps you not get to the end of the day and realize you forgot.
- Have some ideas of what you can do, but let your kids take the lead. Think about what they enjoy–Legos, board games. If you have help, it might be fun to get away and go somewhere. Take a walk down the street. Even if you don’t have money, you can usually find cheap ice cream for under $1. The great thing about young kids is that even that is exciting and seems like a luxury.
- Give your other children something to do while you are spending intentional time with one individual. They can do something alone or together. Or let one of your children stay up late a few minutes while the others read in bed. If your spouse or babysitter is available, you can always leave them in charge.
It’s not so much how you have intentional one-on-one that matters. The only thing that really matters is simply that you do it. Are you going to miss out on doing this a few days here and there? Sure! Have some perspective, brush yourself off, and try again. Each day you have intentional one-on-one time with your children, you be one step closer to making your home a haven. Your children will begin to look forward to those precious times together and plan what they want to do with you. You are building precious memories that will last a lifetime. More importantly, you are building intentional relationships that will last a lifetime and, hopefully, an eternity.
You will find the rest of the Intentional Life Series here.
Tara is a homeschool mom who lives in Nashville, TN with her family of 5. Visit her at MinivanMinistries.com, where she blogs about making Jesus the driving force in your family. Her goal is to help you help your kids fall in love with Jesus. You can also hang out with her on FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and follow MinivanMin on Periscope. Thanks for reading!