Monday, 24 June 2013

One kid at a time

Recently Jessee (my 7 year old) and I took a road trip to visit some family. It could've been a family trip, but work and school schedules just didn't work out, so instead of going by myself, I took the opportunity to incorporate some quality time with one of the kids. Since I have 4, one on one time is very limited with the kids. I know they need it, and I can tell when they're craving it, but sometimes it's hard to try to schedule more than just a snuggle session or storytime together.
She was thrilled to go! She got to leave school early, pack a backpack of activities, and a pillow and blanket for the drive. Camping out in the van really excites children, I don't know why. We had a lovely visit and once we left, I made sure the drive home was all about her. I told her we could stop wherever she wanted for a snack. She chose Dairy Queen for a banana split! She tells me it was her very first, how can that be?

We also stopped at Walmart and she picked out some funky, new nail polish and lipstick for her and her sisters. We chatted alot and I was amazed at how many stories she had for me about school, friends, life in general. Where have I been? Have I really missed so much? I find it so hard to pay attention to them all, at the same time, all the time. Give them more than 5 minutes of my undivided attention? pffft. Although I felt awful about how neglectful I'd been, she was having the time of her life and spent the whole trip home with a smile, which quickly made up for my heartache. 

I feel it's important to make our kids feel loved and valued and create a positive connection between us. It's important for me, as a parent as well. Each of my children are different in personalities, ages, and interests. I love reconnecting with them on such a personal level as it gives me a little reminder of who they are, and why I love them so much. I find that extra effort of attention really helps in their behaviour. I'd love to be able to do this kind of thing on a regular basis, but it can be challenging.

If you're struggling with trying to schedule in some quality time, here are some ideas to help squeeze in your kids:
A quick trip to the grocery store can include a helper. They can get a free cookie while they're there, help pack the cart, and load the groceries on the checkout conveyor belt (that's always a hit!). Kids love to know that they're helping and are always so proud of themselves. Add that to the extra attention they're getting from you and they're happy!
Any household chore, whether it be folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher. If it's just the two of you completing the job they still have your undivided attention and you're both working together to complete something.
My girls love to get their nails done. It's easy for me to explain why I have to do one child at a time, "the smell is too strong", or "I need to concentrate so I don't ruin the nails". I can have the others wait in another room and squeeze in a few minutes of "us time" While I'm doing their nails, it's just the two of us and we can have a quick chat and talk about how pretty their nails are. Kids + praise = happy!

Enjoy and Happy Parenting :)

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