Spending one-on-one time with each of my three kids is one of the best things I’ve done as a parent. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and my kids look forward to our time together with an excitement rivaled only by Christmas morning. Over the years, I’ve found a few ways to make this work for my family.
Before time together
I give my children different options, having them pick from activities that fit our time, schedule and finances. When money is tight, they can choose from no-cost and low-cost things (e.g., parks, hikes or going for ice cream). When we can afford it, we might go to an event that fits my children’s interests. Recently I took my daughter to one of Chick-fil-A’s daddy/daughter date nights. It was a themed event, and we rode in a limousine together.
I try to spend this individual time with my children once a month. It’s not enough to just do these activities, though. After my children have made their choice, I let them know it’s their turn about a week before the event. Part of the fun of a special activity is the anticipation.
During an activity
On our date, I try to keep the conversation focused on topics that relate to the individual child. This dedicated conversation time gives me a deeper connection with each child.
After our time
On the days following our activity, I mention what we did a few times. Bringing up things that we talked about, looking at the photos that we took and asking questions such as “What was your favorite part?” helps us savor the memory.