I was talking to my niece Renate from Germany when she and her family were visiting us last month, and we had some conversations about parenting; she is a new mom to her little Florentine, who is 7 months old.
We discussed parenting and motherhood; I can see she enjoys being a mom as she’s very relaxed with Florentine.
Then, I am not sure how it came up but we spoke of the importance of doing individual things with kids, and she noted that when she was growing up in her family of four kids in Germany, her parents didn’t do things alone with each child.
Renate shared with me that my daughter Rachel had told her that I did individual things with each of my five children.
I was thrilled that my daughter had remembered this practice of my parenting, despite it not being something I grew up with either. I do not think my parents thought about it. My husband, on the other hand, did have individual time with his father growing up, and still does today, but he didn’t have individual outings with his mother.
As a mom of four boys and a girl, I know it could have been easy to just focus on my daughter and let my husband emphasize our sons, which can be typical for families, but that seems sad to me. I love each of my children and want(ed) special memories with them, both individually and as a group.
No matter the size of family or the age of your children, you can carve out alone time with each of them. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal but it’s just about taking the time.
There is something that happens when we have alone time with our kids. They begin to open up about things going on in their lives, and you get to know their thoughts on big things as well as the ordinary every day moments in their days.
My youngest is 15 now and I was able to go to the beach with him this week of break, and he invited a friend.
It takes initiating and trying and throwing ideas out there to do together. It takes thinking about what your kids like and what you can introduce them to that you like. A movie? A outdoor location. A hike. A coffee shop. A restaurant.
Starting at a young age is key as it helps establish the habit and connection. And, continuing into tweens and teens and young adulthood is huge. But you can start anytime and at any age.
Recently we met a single dad who was a contractor, and we were trying to find a time when he could come over to give us a bid; and while on the phone discussing potential days and times to meet, he told me he had to check with his daughter about something, and I overheard him say:
“Hey, what day is our date night?” and I thought, wow, how neat is that, making it a priority to get together with his daughter. I asked him how old she is and he told me she’s 20, and a sophomore in college. He said that date night is something he has been doing for a while with her; but you can start anytime.
If we make it a priority, it will become a habit and something that our kids will ask us about as they get older, not just us asking our kids. My husband has been having lunch with his dad once a week for years, and they both initiate.
You cannot beat alone time with your kid.
This is post Number 21 in my How I Mom 30 Days of November blog series #howimom30
How about you? How do you carve out individual time with each of your children? #howyoumom30