Our children desperately desire our attention. We can choose to give it to them proactively on our terms. Or we can wait until they misbehave and give them attention then in the form of discipline.
Children are smart. They realize that if they can’t get attention from Mom and Dad by being good, they can certainly get it by being bad. Parents need to be smarter. Parenting is a lot more fun if we can harness their desire for our attention and use it to effectively parent. By carving out time for our children we drastically reduce a lot of the misbehaviors that make us question why we ever became parents.
During this podcast episode I discuss how our family handles the following issues:
Preventive Parenting: I have found that proactively providing individual time with my children goes a long way toward minimizing discipline problems.
How Much Time is Required: My goal is to meet each child’s needs. There are times when different children (depending upon their age and circumstances) require more individual attention. I never set an amount of time that will work (e.g. 10 minutes twice a day). I’m flexible and pay attention to my children to know when somebody needs to spend extra individual time with me.
How to Fit One-On-One Time into Busy Schedules: I get creative. I do very few things alone, but often have one of the children as my “buddy” so I get to spend time working side by side with just them. It’s important, so I find a way to make it happen. There are certain of my children that definitely require more of my attention than others. I find a way to make it work.
Child Directed or Parent Directed Time: Depending on how busy the family is determines who gets to choose how individual time is spent. When the schedule is crazy, I choose. If things are fairly smooth, I let the child decide.
One-On-One Time or Buddy-Up: There are individual children that enjoy sharing their special time with me. When I can Buddy up this special time, it works great.
Quality vs Quantity: Children need both. You can not just have one without the other. While you must find a balance, that balance will constantly change as the needs of the family shifts.
Time with Spouse: Don’t neglect your spouse and make sure that he gets attention and one-on-one time with you as well.
Overall, spending one on one time with your children should be fun and not a stressful thing to add to your to-do list. Don’t feel like there is some magic number you need to achieve. Be aware that your children need your attention and have fun giving them as much of it as you can.
What about you? Are you able to spend enough one-on-one time with your children? Or do you need to spend more?
Thanks for listening! Tune in next week when I talk about how to teach your children to be leaders.
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