Preschoolers, middle ones and teenagers. That’s where we are. With such a mix of ages it’s sometimes hard to have individual time with each child. Just how do you make a habit of planning individual time with each child? Today I share a few of the ways my husband and I accomplish that. The habits that help.
I don’t suggest that you incorporate all of these into your family life unless you want to. Rather pick one or two and add in what appeals to you, what seems easy.
Let it happen naturally
Lately I’ve found individual time is happening with the natural flow of the day. My youngest ones rise early, usually one at a time. My older ones stay up later and we enjoy some time after the littlest ones are tucked in. Early morning discussions about favorite cars and trucks with my youngest one. Late night talks with my eldest girl. Bedside ponderings with my littlest girl at sunset. This is not anything I’ve planned for, it’s just how the day happens. Right now. As each of my children grow and change, I’ll likely be adjusting and making changes to how the natural individual times happen.
This particular habit is one that helped me teach individual math lessons at the same time little ones were learning in room time. It’s exactly how I was able to be in two places at once. My husband and I set aside time to make room time CDs – recording our voices – for the children to listen to. We also included fun Bible songs, the ABCs, basic manners and more. A round up on all I’ve shared is included in How Morning Time Builds Learning Skills for Later.
Go to the Store Buddy
Kendra gives a perfect example of this in her post, Divide and Conquer. Children take turns going to the store, the library, running errands. Sometimes we even use a coupon and go to an inexpensive restaurant. Those drives around town are often the time my child and I have the deepest, most important talks.
Another long-time habit that is often the anchor of our days more than anything else is afternoon quiet time. The beauty of afternoon time is that a child can spend some individual time with a parent. This is when a child and I have practiced reading, worked on a project, painted toenails or simply sat quietly. Built in individual time. Five weekdays – five children!
Plus, when a younger sibling is napping, it’s simple to scoop up some reading and snuggle time on the couch.
Cooking and Baking
Time to toss the ingredients in the slow cooker? Call a child to help you stir it in. Need to rinse some dishes? I have one that loves the kitchen sink squirter. He can stand on the stool and rinse dishes and we can chat about the birds we see through the window. Invite your preschooler to be part of the action!
Folding laundry together, teaching individual children how to load a dishwasher and even afternoons of car repair can be opportunities for individual time. Don’t discount these times. The simple truths my children and I have talked about over a huge pile of laundry amaze me!
Sometimes one of the children will accompany me or suggest we talk a walk in the neighborhood. What great talks we’ve had on our walks! *Psst* This is also a fabulous way to get in a little quiet time with my husband – late night, neighborhood walks. And Angie shares how she starts her homeschool day outside in I Finally Did it! (this would be an easy way to fit in some individual time!)
Our youngest two children go to bed at the same time each night. Hodgepodgedad tucks in one and I tuck in the other. The questions asked, the family classic quotes we’ve gathered at tucking in time! Next, our Middle Girl is tucked in. She and I sometimes play King’s Corners, draw a picture together or scan a Where’s Waldo. Then my husband and I spend time with our eldest two children. Kendra has a wonderful post on Bedtime Stories.
Making cards, delivering a meal, making a gift. Not only can you have a little bit of individual time in creating something to bless someone else, but there is sometimes individual time to be had when making the drive over to deliver a gift.
In summary, planning individual time with each of your children can be a challenge. However, it can be much simpler when you look at the natural flow of your days. Also, be sure to simply leave room for spontaneity. But plan, so you can feel free to be spontaneous. Kerri explains this beautifully in her Planning to Be Spontaneous series. Basically, plan and have resources in place so that when opportunity arises you can take advantage of it.
- Individual prayer time for each child with the Prayer Calendar at Passionate Purposeful Parenting
- A handy planning resource we sometimes use – Doorposts’ Family Circles – making time for the ones you love
- Our author, Kim Ashbaugh, shared a wonderful post at Passionate Purposeful Parenting: The Importance of Individual Time
- 7 Ways to Have Individual Time with Your Kids from Finding Joy
- Time with Daddy! Daddy Destinations
Be sure to visit all the other ‘how to’ planning posts shared by iHomeschool Network bloggers!
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