As you know, we have five children. And whether you have one child, ten children, or have just spent time around children, you can imagine how busy our lives are on a daily basis. I always wanted a big family, and I am living the life I had always dreamed of, but that doesn’t mean that there are not challenges. One of these challenges is making sure to spend quality time with each child.I have found four easy ways to make this happen in our home.
1. Go big for special holidays.
A dear friend recommended an excellent idea where we give each child a “date card” for a Christmas gift. This has turned out to be their favorite Christmas gift each year! They get to choose the activity and they get a card for time with Mom and time with Dad separately. We have done so many fun activities like Disney for the day, escape games, fishing, and more! It’s really fun to find out what each child comes up with for their date card and makes Christmas last even longer! Sometimes we don’t get them all done until April, but the anticipation is half the fun, right?
2. Find stolen moments.
I love to take walks. I love to walk on the beach, in the mountains, in the city, in our neighborhood; really anywhere! I use this time to listen to Scripture, audiobooks, sermons, to talk to friends, and sometimes I invite a child along with me! It’s so wonderful to just have a chance to talk, hold their hand, and just be together.
My oldest son and I have a tradition of going for a sunrise walk together every time we are at the beach. I do not love being up before the sun, but I do love this treasured time with my oldest. These will be precious memories for the rest of my life.
3. Schedule the time.
When I only had my son, I played on the floor with him for hours. We would build with blocks, race cars on tracks, read books, and roll balls. The more babies I had, the harder it became to have this devoted one on one play time. And now that all the children are older, I often say how I have worked myself out of a job because they all love to play together! Sometimes I feel like I am intruding on their intricate games and imaginative play.
But of course, they treasure this one on one time with me as much as I treasure it with them. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more purposeful with my time. I have always been very organized, but I felt like I could use my time more wisely by making daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Using an app called Productive, I enter every single thing I can think of, including exercising, watering plants, and spending time with each child! When I first started scheduling this, I made my goal to spend time once a week with each child. But I found that this just wasn’t realistic. So then I switched the goal to once every two weeks and this has worked perfectly. I try to make the time last at least 30 minutes, and strive for an hour. Hopefully this doesn’t sound calloused or too over scheduled, but it does make it happen!
4. Say yes.
As busy moms and dads, or busy grandfathers, uncles, or big sisters, it can be incredibly easy to say no to a toddler’s request to read a book, or a preteen’s invitation to play a video game. But if you can, just say yes. It doesn’t have to take an hour, but maybe it will, and that’s ok.
Of course, I know all too well that this is not always as simple as it sounds and we can’t always say yes. But I bet we could all find times that we say yes more often. The time when our children will ask us to play with them is painfully short. Say yes while you have the chance.
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