As a single mom of four kids, you can probably imagine how tough it is to give my kids individual time, at least without hiring a babysitter and spending even more money on dinner or a movie.
Turns out, you don’t have to spend money — or even need a second adult in the house — to give your kids the one-on-one time they love and need, where they’re getting your absolute, undivided attention.
In addition to Stacie’s terrific post on how she turned after-school snack time with her kids into meaningful together time, check out my own 3 simple ways I’ve learned to sneak in individual time with my kids that might help you too.
1. Bedtime chit-chat
When my kids were younger, bedtime was an obvious time for individual attention because they needed a lot of it to fall asleep.
As kids get older and more capable, we tend to let them put themselves to sleep. (Hey, it’s nice to have that little break!) However, I’ve found it’s actually the perfect time to give each of my kids my full attention, with something my 6-year old now calls “chit-chat.”
After tucking each of my kids in bed, I sit with them for a few minutes and talk, whether it’s them telling me about their day, or asking me about mine. If your kids are like mine, they’ll go on and on forever, so I limit chit-chat to about five minutes, or 3 questions each (we love true or false!) especially since I’ve got four kids to get through.
2. Sitting in the shower with them
Of course you’re not exactly sitting in the shower stall here, but rather, hanging out in the bathroom while your kids get clean.
My kids are all old enough to bathe themselves, but for whatever reason, they don’t like to be alone while they do. So, we started making their shower time our one-on-one time, and I have to say I really like it.
They hop in the shower, then call me in, and I sit on the toilet (seat down, ha) and talk to them about whatever is on their mind. My kids don’t shower every single day, so this trick works very well for us. Plus, my skin looks amazing from all the steam!
3. Early riser or night owl
Two of my kids are early risers while the other two are night owls, so I’ve started using a few of those opportunities during the week to give them my undivided attention.
I wake up a little earlier on those days to sit with my early-riser daughter, who’s always up well before dawn. And my son, who’s always begging to stay up a little later, gets that privilege once a week so we can snuggle and catch up on what’s been going on with him. Then there’s my tween, who stays up extra late relative to her siblings, which works perfectly for me since I’m usually up late myself.
If your kids will fight over who gets to wake up early or stay up late, I suggest scheduling it on a calendar so they know when to expect their turn. Nothing like putting it in writing to help avoid any extra drama.