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  • One-on-one time

    How much one-on-one time do you recommend in a day? And how about if you have more than one child? Also, would that include between each parent or just one-on-one time with a parent during a day?

  • #2
    How much one-on-one time

    My recommendation with one-on-one time (not just one on one but extra enthusiastic child-led play with your undivided attention), is to start small so that you can have success and build on it. Set a timer for fifteen minutes, once or twice a week. Go for a five minute burst when you have some extra attention. It's great to have at least one time per week that the child can come to expect and look forward to. More isn't better! The quality of your attention is what counts. It's great for relationships with each parent for each parent to have one-on-one time. In big families, you will need to gather up more support in order for everyone to have fifteen minutes or more a week, but it's worth it. Sometimes children really need both parents--two-on-one--and they blossom when they get it. this is especially true in bigger families. When there is a new baby, it's great that your older child can get more attention during the baby's nap time. However, your older child knows you will have to leave that special time to get the baby if she wakes up, so it doesn't really count as full one-on-one time--make sure to have some where someone else is in charge of the baby--sleeping or awake. Again, fifteen minutes doesn't sound like much, but it makes a world of difference. I also want to say that it's harder than it sounds. Most of us never had anyone paying high quality undivided attention to us and letting us be in charge, so we can unconsciously (or consciously) resent it, or we can get suddenly sleepy or bored or suddenly that email seems dreadfully important. So it helps to have a friend or two who are also trying this experiment, and check in with them regularly (and honestly) about how it is going. For those of you who say, "I give my child enthusiastic undivided attention all day long" I say, "I don't think that is humanly possible, so either you are superhuman and more power to you, or it explains why you are super-exhausted every day. Try a concentrated burst of one on one time, and let yourself divide your attention between parenting and "life" guilt-free at other times.

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