I was reminiscing the other day about growing up. Specifically, I was thinking about special time spent with my grandmother. When I finally obtained my license, I would swing by my grandmother’s house. As I remember it, she was always pulling fresh corn bread muffins out of the oven. She always seemed to have a pot of chili on the stove. We shared a love of onions. We would sit and eat chili with raw onions until we were stuffed. There are so many wonderful memories that I have about my grandmother, but this one is my favorite.
Looking back on when I was young, the moments that stand out most are the times that I shared with someone I loved. Dinners out, going to the movies, driving in the car together, the list could go on forever. The things that seemed important then aren’t nearly as important as the memories I now cherish.
Today’s blog takes a look at the importance of spending one-on-one time with the children in your life. Whether they belong to you or not, making shared memories is more valuable than you know. There are lots of reasons to hang out together, and I would like to offer some inexpensive ideas as well as some explanations.
One-on-one time means that you are alone with one other person. It was always a treat to spend time away from my siblings and talk about the things that I wanted to talk about, or see the movie I wanted to see. It was great because I didn’t have to compromise. Many parents find it hard to schedule hours to spend with just one of their children, but it doesn’t just have to be with mom or dad. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, older cousins and siblings, respected neighbors and older friends, even teachers can all pitch in here. Below are some common scenarios that many folks find difficult, along with some easy ideas to help mitigate the problem.
A new sibling is born
Many times, when a new sibling is born, the older sibling is confused and sometimes angry. Spending time alone with them shows them that they are still your baby. Younger kids especially have higher rates of tantrums and exhibit behaviors that require discipline. It is hard for them to go from being the only child to sharing your love and attention. Going out for ice cream, playing at their favorite playground, and watching their favorite movie are easy ways to spend time together.
Moving to a new school or city
Moving is not easy on any family member, and is especially difficult for children. Making new friends, learning a new set of rules, and figuring out a different culture take their toll mentally, physically, and emotionally. What better way to acquaint yourself with your new city than to go exploring together? Take a bike ride and see where you end up, or search online for a great hangout. If your child is at a new school, pick them up one afternoon and go for a special treat, take them on a picnic, or bake cookies to get them talking about how things are going.
We all go through tough times and for kids, it makes it easier to cope when they have help from an adult. Being able to ask questions, put names to emotions, and share the physical presence of another person feels good. Sitting and talking, reading a book together, going out to eat, and taking a walk all help ease stress.
As an incentive
When I was a teacher, I would offer my lunch time as an incentive to the students. The student with the most points at the end of the week could join me for lunch. This meant time to talk, play games, and pick from the prize box. Using one-on-one time as a reward is an inexpensive way to incentivize your child. You pick the skill or behavior to work on, they pick the person and the activity, everybody wins.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to spend alone time with your child, and allowing other people in their life to do the same. I think every adult has a favorite memory involving one-on-one time with a loved one. Make time to create positive memories that will last a lifetime!
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