I talk about my children fairly often here. They are pretty awesome if I do say so in my slightly biased opinion. We have four all aged 10 and under, including twins in the mix. Growing up in a big family means fighting for attention any way you can. With the exception of our youngest who is still at home for much of the day with mom, we have found it very difficult to give the kids one on one attention in our daily lives.
A few years ago my husband was working internationally almost full time. He would often be gone for 3 week stretches, only to be home for 5 days before he was off agin. I’m not going to lie. It was hard on our family and the girls found it very difficult to connect with him after such a long time away. So even though his time home was brief and he was always a bit jet-lagged, he started taking the girls on an individual date every time he came home. I think he needed it as much as they did and it really helped us get through a brutal stretch for our family.
Once he changed jobs and was back home full time, we noticed that our kids were still desperate for both of our undivided attention and would do whatever it took (negative or positive) to be sure they were noticed. I tried to create opportunities when I could – grabbing one when I went to the store on the weekend. And those outings are always good for the kids – every little bit matters.
But the times where both mom and dad are with one child are extremely rare. All kids crave focused attention from both their parents and when we noticed some behavior issues cropping up we decided it was time to start dating our children.
It’s hard to create the time for another date night and we don’t do it as often as we’d like. We don’t have family nearby that’s readily available to take the other kids and so my husband and I will sacrifice our own date nights in order to make it happen. Therefore, when we date our kids we try to make it special. We dress up and take them to a white table cloth restaurant – not necessarily fancy but definitely somewhere we wouldn’t go with 4 kids! It certainly feels fancy and special to them and its fantastic to see how their little personalities shine when they get all of our attention. We have been surprised to see our silly child be so calm. Our picky eater try new foods. Both my husband and I walk away each time so grateful for the time and newly appreciative of the special blessing that is our child.
Life often feels really hard when you are raising small children. My friends and I talk about it a lot. It’s exhaustive, the kids screw up, we screw up. We go to bed and wake up and do it all over again. My husband and I talk about it too. Are we raising good kids or jerks? Is the extra effort and digging in on those really hard days going to pay dividends one day? We just don’t know. But we know for sure that any extra time we can give the kids is a gift for them and us and and it’s definitely worth it.
Have you ever dated your kids? I’d love your ideas for finding ways to get one on one time with your children.