One-on-one time with your kids is so incredibly important to letting them know you care about them and that they are valued, regardless of whatever else you have going on. However, prioritizing that time can be a bit tricky.
One study found that the average parent spends just 5 hours with their kids face-to-face per week. Even though you may be spending much more time than that in the same room or car as your child, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the quality time needed for your relationship to thrive.
Are you ready to plan some one-on-one dates with your child this week? Here are some suggestions!
Dedicate special time.
Making sure your child feels special during your one-on-one time together is the most important thing when planning these activities. This article on spending one-on-one time with your kids suggests letting your child plan their “special night” with you once a month on their birth date (e.g., if they were born on August 2, the 2nd of every month would be their special night).
How you plan the night is up to you, but the article talks about letting each child stay up past their bedtime on their special night to choose one fun activity to do with you. This could mean doing something simple like making ice cream sundaes, building a fort, or reading a book. The point is that you get to spend some uninterrupted time doing something that you both enjoy, together!
Spending time with your child doesn’t always have to be a big event planned in advance. Try bringing them into the kitchen to help you cook dinner. If you feel comfortable, take a step back and let them be the head chef for the night by following one of these kid-friendly recipes.
You could also turn this into an educational experience by cooking up some fun dishes from around the world! Here are some ideas:
Utilize car rides.
It’s likely that a large chunk of the time you get to spend with your children is in the car, so make the most of it! Resist the urge to turn up the music and utilize your commute time by talking with your child. Even 5-10 minutes of conversation is helpful to letting them know you care.
This article has some great kid conversation starters to get your child to open up to you during a car ride. Clinical psychologist Laura Markham says that questions like, “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” might seem simple, but they encourage your child to talk about their social interactions. Asking, “What’s your favorite camp activity?” leads them to talk about their passions. What may seem like just a quick car ride could turn into a great bonding opportunity, so take advantage of it.
Make one-on-one time a priority.
Life is busy, stressful, and overwhelming at times. It seems like you have a million and one things on your to-do list, but don’t forget that one-on-one time with your kids should always be at the top of that list. It’s not just something you do when you have time, it’s something to make time for.
Want more tips from the Bakers? Read our blog post here on “Three Ways to Support Your Local School.”