I love having a large family, but one of my struggles as a mom of 4 kids is making sure everybody gets a turn, or a little one on one time, everyday. I worry a lot that the kids feel like I’m playing favorites. I don’t want them to ever feel like I’m spending more time with one kid vs. another. My kids need me in different ways and I worry they think I’m showing favoritism. I also worry that my older kids think I don’t need to spend as much time with them simply because the younger kids are needier. I want them to realize I need to spend as much time with them simply because they are my kids and I want to be around them.
Making sure each kid gets time can be tough some days. Busy practice schedules in all different directions makes it tough to get lots of quality time with your kids. This only makes me stress more about being purposeful with my short spurts of time with them.
A few things that I do to make the most of our time together…..
We take turns talking about our days. We do a lot of these conversations in the car on the way home from school. The kids are good about knowing not to interrupt, I guess they’ve figured out how it feels to be interrupted so they are pretty good about not doing that anymore. If they don’t have anything to tell me about their day I try to make sure and ask them something about their day. This way they can be assured that I truly care about their day, and that I’m not just going through the motions. I do really want to know.
I typically have one of the kids with me in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner. This is a chance for one on one time, and a chance to learn some cooking skills. I love that the kids take turns talking about their day, but the one on one time is where I learn about who they really hang out with on the play ground, who they hear jokes from, how their different sports practices are going, and more of the real nitty-gritty of their life. Sometimes we review for tests, or do a quick check of how grades are going as well. I try to keep this time not so much about school work, but it also depends on the schedule.
Planning dates/outings with my kids is fun too, but can get pricey. When I have to do weekend errands I will try to only take one kid at a time. I’ll let them chose a small treat like ice cream or sonic drink stop. I’ve noticed that the older my kids get the more they don’t really want to go with me on errand days. While I totally get that errand day isn’t the most fun, I still have somebody tag along that hasn’t in a while. They end up having fun and we joke around the whole time.
I’m terrified that I’m getting their personalities mixed up or not getting to know them, individually, quite as good as I could. I try very hard to get a moment or make sure they each get their turn, everyday.