There’s no doubt about it – life is busy. And when you’ve got multiple kids and/or a demanding schedule, it’s hard to feel like you have time to give each child your undivided attention.
A couple years ago, we started “Special Time” at our house. We assigned each of our four kids a night of the week. On their assigned night, they get to stay up 15 minutes later than everyone else. For that 15 minutes, the child choses an activity to do with mom and dad. The only rules for special time are:
- The activity you chose needs to be screen-free
- No interrupting anyone else’s special time
It’s been such a treat to get that 2-on-1 time with each of our kids every week. It’s only 15 minutes, takes no advanced preparation, and surprisingly the other kids seems to go to bed even better because of rule #2.
It’s a great time for the kids to open up about things going on at school, ask questions, or just feel special and important. It’s been especially helpful with my pre-teen to have a time away from her siblings to talk about more mature subjects.
We always let the child choose what activity they want to do with us, but here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Play a board or card game
- Read a book
- Color, draw or paint
- Tell a progressive story (each person tells one sentence of the story, then it moves onto the next person and goes around and around)
- Paint fingernails or toenails
- Throw a ball back and forth
- Sit out by a fire (if you’ve got a fire pit)
- Style each other’s hair
- Work on a small craft
- Make a fort
- Plan some fun family or friend outings
- Crossword puzzles, sudoku, or word searches
- Look at family photobooks or memory books
Different stages of life are demanding in different ways, so if the after-bed Special Time doesn’t work for you, I encourage you to find a different time that does! The important and beneficial thing is carving out time to make each child feel special and have your undivided attention.
Here are a few other ideas that I love:
Becky from One Modern Family has a “birthday” night each month where her children get to stay up 20-30 minutes later with their parents (birthday because each child gets to stay up on the “day” of their birthday – if they have an August 21 birthday, every 21 of each month is their day to stay up).
Katie at Keeper of the Home gives ideas for ways to Date Your Kids at all ages, and tips for what to do with younger siblings.
I hope these ideas give you some simple ideas for incorporating special time with your kids and taking a few minutes each day to unplug and give them your undivided attention.
I’d love to hear any of your special time ideas in the comments as well!
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