The more children there are in a family, the harder it is to spend one-on-one time with each child. It is important to make an effort to spend quality time with each child individually. Time alone with one or both parents is needed in a family with several children, busy days and noisy households. Connecting with your child and giving him/her your undivided love and attention will prove beneficial and remind your child of his/her value.
At our house there are four children and a dog. Our house is in a constant state of chaos and it is always loud. There is very little privacy and there is always someone in your space. This is our norm. Having a large family means we have awesome moments of togetherness but there are also times when we seek time and space alone.
Sometimes it is hard to schedule time for everyone. The one-on-one moments can be spontaneous or scheduled. Our family schedules “Daddy days” or a “Day out with Mom” with each child every once in awhile. Sometimes the children might go to a grandparent’s house for a sleepover alone. On a parent outing, they get to have a day out and an activity of their choosing. Usually it is a movie or dinner date and a day away is planned where spoiling privileges go to one child at a time.
We also cherish the moments that we are alone with one child by circumstance. When I take one of my sons to a hockey game, we have a chance to chat in the van, grab his favourite treat, and then all my attention is focused on watching him play. When I take my daughter for a late night drive, we walk the beach and talk. We listen to the music she chooses and we go where she wants to go. In the early mornings or early evenings when it is just me and my toddler, we play trains, read books or snuggle and watch a movie. He is happy when I give him my full attention, even if only for a little while.
I like to believe that my children are getting the best of both worlds. They know the love and bond of having siblings. There is always someone there for them. Yet they also get time as “an only child”, benefiting from full-on attention of a loving parent. They seem to regenerate after these days or moments and they are then able to enter back into the natural state of chaos with renewed spirit. We build them up and remind them of our love for each and every one of them.