Awareness of your situation
If you have more than one child, do you ever do these two things?
- Do you spend quality time with each of your kids, every day? And yes, time with just one of them, just you and where nothing and nobody else matters, with no phones, chores, or other people. Where you enter their world and do what they like to do. Follow their lead and tune into them 100%.
- Go on a little break or holiday with each of your kids alone. Again, just you and one child. Staying overnight somewhere for a day, a weekend or even a week? It doesn’t have to be far away or for long but where you can do some real ‘Love Bombing’…
And I know that you might be thinking right now: This is impossible! Who will look after my other kids? I work full time, there’s no time for that! I’m a single parent, I can’t afford holidays and days out! But if these ARE your thoughts then it is even more important to read the rest of this blog.
We do have a choice
Here is the thing, while we cannot make more time in the day, we can choose how we use it and with whom. If we put on our creativity and flexibility hats, we might just be able to fit it in, enjoy it and of course reap the benefits.
What I did this summer
This summer for the first time I tried to spend a day or more with each of my three kids, separately. I normally do this once a year but have never done all three in one summer. This summer I went for it and I must say I really enjoyed it and got so much out of it. Life gets really busy with three kids and work so taking a summer break fully committed to some love bombing was magical. We took some time together in some of their favourite places, choosing to do the things that are important to them.
The best bit about it was that I didn’t have to think about my other two kids or my husband and their needs, wants or moods – just the one child. We did also spend some time all together as a family over the summer which was equally fantastic but different. And my time spent one2one with each of my kids was great for them and so chilled and relaxed for me. I just did what they wanted to do, followed their lead, pace and interests.
What I learned:
I realised that each of my kids are so amazingly different. No one is better, cooler or easier than the other – just different. I knew their differences with respect to their likes of food, sport and books and so on. But I’d never thought about the difference in their ‘pace’, their outlook on life and how they like to see and experience it. So what did I learn about them?
My oldest likes to have the day planned, learn new things and gain knowledge. Food is important for her, and it must be healthy and meat free. I learned to listen more; she is a very quiet person but once I tuned into her I found she had lots to say. She takes life quite seriously so needs lots of time with a person to explore a certain topic, no small talk. And I learned that we don’t have to talk all the time to have a good time. That silence can be something to share.
My middle son is a busy bee. The days were packed with swimming, walking and running – it was ‘go go go’ all the time, from the moment he got up till he went to bed. He loves laughing and having fun and always sees the best in life. I learned to go to bed early so I could be fresh to keep up with him. I learned to move quickly (to keep up!), to laugh at the small things and not take life too seriously.
And my youngest likes to take it easy, sleep in and observe the world going by. I learned to eat and walk slowly with him, to enjoy and soak up every single minute, no rush. Not to get up to move on, but to sit and enjoy the here and now a bit longer. Adapt to words such as chill, relax, calm down, breathe and walk slowly. And that life will work itself out so there is no need to worry and stress.
So, you see, all this for spending some quality time with each of my kids. We didn’t do much, go too far or spend a whole load of money – we just took some time together to be connected and tuned in to each other.
How to fit it in:
- Ask for help: Ask a friend or family to look after one of the kids so you can take the other out or just spend some time at home with one child without sibling distractions. Drop one or two of the kids off with family, even if it is oversea I used to fly to Denmark (my home country) and drop two of my kids with my parents and then take the other one on a ‘mini break’ holiday.
- Be creative: take time when one is asleep, on a playdate or at after school or weekend activities. I know it’s tempting to start doing chores or emailing when there is a bit of extra time in the day. But maybe that is the time when you can tune into one of your children and give them what they crave, your time. Maybe go away with one child when the other is on an overnight school trip or on a sleepover.
- Agree with your partner: if you have a partner, sit down and talk about how you can make this work, particularly the ‘love bombing’ holiday. Agree on when is a good time for you to take one of the kids away. If you are in a separated relationship where it is possible to communicate, talk about the same thing: maybe during the holidays you can take turns having only one child at a This way you can actually give all your kids some special one2one time.
- Sometimes less is more: a mini break or time together can be no cost or low cost. A day in the park or simply just the garden. Bake a cake together. A bike ride etc. Maybe you can borrow someone’s summer or beach house for a few nights. Or do a house swap with someone in a different part of the country. A night away camping doesn’t have to cost much. Keep an eye out for hotel or Airbnb deals, some can be really cheap, especially if you can book in advance or at the very last minute. Maybe you can stay with someone and during the day do things together, just the two of you. In Denmark we have shelters where people can camp for free, do you have something similar in your country?
- Be 100% there: when you have decided that now is a great time to give your child some ‘love’ then make sure you are both physically and mentally present. Where your mind is full of what you are doing right now – being totally mindful. Here you really boost the benefits of spending time together, because you send a signal that ‘you are the most important thing for me right now, nothing else matters’. Try to pretend that you are creating a ‘mindful bubble’ around you and your child and all that matters is what is inside the bubble; the rest can stay outside, for now. Tune in to the here and now.
Spontaneous, planned together or a surprise?
You can take it as it comes. When you have time, jump in and join in with what your child is doing and send them some love. Or if you see a cheap offer, book it and go (if possible). Remember it’s easy to do chores when the kids are playing quietly on their own, but also remember this… ‘The sink will always have dirty dishes but one day your kids will have flown the nest’. So, if you see a special moment in the day, leave what you are about to do and get in there – one day it will be the most important thing.
Sit with your child and plan what you will do together and when. It is important that it is special to them and child led. I loved sitting with each of my kids and planning our special summer mini breaks. It was great to get them involved – they had to google cheap Airbnbs, places to eat, things to do. It created a feeling of, ‘we are in this adventure together’.
Or ‘I have a surprise for you’: surprise your child with a day out, a trip to a café, or a special break away somewhere.
Why fit it in:
Well, where do I start?
- When we put quality time aside to be with them, they feel really
- You will be strengthening the bond between you. Your child will remember those special times.
- It is a bank of ‘positives’- when you give them your time. Enter their world they are more willing to give you theirs when you ask them for it. For example to get ready, do homework or chores etc.
- You will find that during quality mini breaks you will get to know your child in a deeper way. May be surprised about all the things he/she knows, can do and
- And less guilt. I am sure we are all guilty of living a busy life where we forget to stop and tune into the small but important moments. But when you do you will feel so much better at the end of the day. The day still might not have gone as you’d hoped, but at least you can end the day by looking in the mirror and saying, ‘but I spent some really lovely time with each of my kids and for that I am happy and proud.
All in all, they feel loved and special.