4 Moms tackle the scary topic of individual time with children

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Welcome back to the weekly 4 Moms post, in which 4 moms with a collective total of 35 children share our knowledge, experience and and helpful tips in maintaining health, order and sanity.

This week we’re talking about spending one-on-one time with children when you have a whole brood of them.  Are the 4 moms all on the same page?  Checking with each other ahead of time would be like comparing answers on homework.  We’d be homeschool moms caught cheating.  Oh, the scandal!

Click over to find out how our answers compare. If you’re an early riser, you might know before we do.

  • Connie at Smockity Frocks
  • Headmistress at The Common Room
  • Kimberly at Raising Olive
  • I didn’t consult with the other moms ahead of time, but I did ask my lifeline: hubby.  He knew me well enough to know that I often feel guilty about this area.  He also knew me well enough to assuage my ovarian guilt.  He reassured me that although I don’t always plan for one-on-one time with my children, it happens in the course of our day.

    Individual time, aka quality time, comes when I give a reading lesson to the preschooler, when I read a picture book to the toddler, when somebody helps me make my bed, when we cook together, when I help somebody with her hair or get my own hair styled.

    Individual time might be when I help an older child with math, when we sit together in my room to read our Bibles, when 2 of us squeeze together in front of the monitor for a secret youtube viewing with the volume down low, or I take somebody on an errand.

    It might be a quiet cup of coffee or cocoa with an early riser, a bedtime hug that stretches into a 5 minute review of the day’s highlights, or a middle of the night snuggle before somebody gets sent back to their own bed.

    It can even be a short, sweet chat with the toddler while I change her diaper or wash her face.

    Individual time, aka quality time, does not have to be over ice cream at the local fast food restaurant, though that certainly qualifies.  Much like Bible time, school time, and other important parts of our life, we think individual time can be planned, but often works best when tightly woven into the fabric of our daily lives.


    Upcoming topics for 4 Moms 35 Kids:

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  • Comments

    1. Kim,
      Thank you for your response – don’t worry, I am not easily offended, and besides, I asked for advice! I do feel guilty many times for the time I cannot spend alone with each child. They are VERY close in age and very young still, so much of the time is spent caring for them. If I get 15 minutes of play time with them at a time it’s really good! I think it may also come from Daddy trying to give them alone time on the weekends as well. Thanks for your encouragement and advice!

    2. Okay, I had to comment on this post even though it’s an older one. I hope you have time to read it. I am the mother of 4 children five and under. My husband works out of town four days a week. Our last 2 children were 15 months apart so I still have 2 in diapers (and sadly, the older 2 in pull-ups at night…will never do pull-ups again!). Recently my 5 year old has been telling me that I don’t spend very much special alone time with them. It breaks my heart to hear her say that, even though it’s probably true. She tells me I don’t play with them like Daddy does (he’s the fort-builder, sword-fighter, hide and seek player). I have reminded her of our special times together baking things, or coloring, or making homemade playdough, but she still doesn’t feel convinced. Many times on the weekends, daddy will try to take each of them somewhere alone even if it’s just grocery shopping because he doesn’t see them all week. By the end of the week I just want time alone because I have been mommy AND daddy all week long. I know she doesn’t understand that if mommy doesn’t do all the household stuff (I have started giving her small chores) and the household management stuff there will be major problems, but it still breaks my heart that she thinks this way. She is my only daughter so far and I don’t want her to grow up and think mommy never cared to play with me. Not true, as I do sit down and play dolls with her, but not for as long as she would like me to. I do like the idea of a previous poster of waking her early for Bible study together. Maybe she’s not too young for that.

      • Camille,
        I hope my thoughts on this won’t offend you; please just take it for what it’s worth from a total stranger: I have to wonder if your daughter is picking up on your guilt or at least feeling vindicated in her complaints. It sounds like you spend plenty of time with her, so somebody has to be putting it in her head that these times don’t count for one reason or another and she is entitled to more. If you feel confident that you are not the one planting this idea in her little head, you might want to look for it from other influences in her life – TV, grandparents, friends.

    3. From our 13yo to our 1yo we do tons of reading together too — worth every bit of effort for that quality one-on-one time!! Yes, although it’s purposeful, it’s also just a natural part of our daily lives that I never think “Oh, no, I have to read to someone – it’s on the schedule!!!”

      Plus it’s a joyful thing that we all enjoy with a great side effect – every single one of our kids (that is old enough) absolutely loves to read!

    4. Heather Wawa says:

      We have just six kids and there’s one thing that we do that is special.

      As soon as the kids turn about 8, they get one particular day of the week. On that day, I wake them up early, we have a cup of coffee with flavored creamer and we have a bible study together. It’s come to be something everyone looks forward to. It’s a chance to have a heart-to-heart, pray together and for eachother, just have that uninterrupted time.

    5. Good perspective! I love that you recognize the value of small regular interactions. Grand gestures, are…well, grand. But do not hold more value than regular interactions with our children and certianly do not hold more wieght. Plus, i think that focusing on the small things with our relationships in our family sets children’s expectations at a reasonable level for lifelong relationships. It is supposed to be the RELATIONSHIP, not the activity that holds value in life. So, bravo! Don’t feel guilty for being real!

    6. Love, love love!!

    Don't just think it: say it!

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