Creating one-on-one time with your kids

Creating one-on-one time with your kids

Mommy and JoshuaI recently went back to working full-time again after eight years of being a WAHM (work at home mom)! This has been quite an adjustment for our family as I am no longer available for any after-school activities, pick-ups, drop-offs, etc. It also means that I am less available to the kids during the week as I get home right before our evening routine (dinner, bath, bed). The result is that to my family, my attention after hours is deemed as a commodity more valuable than gold!

Every evening when I walk through the door I am bombarded by both kids with stories about their day, teachers letters, newsletters, etc. and I’ve noticed that all of a sudden they have become very competitive and argumentative (well more than usual!). I attribute this to the fact that they are getting less of my time than they are used to and now feel the need to compete for my attention when they do have it.

This came to a head last week when my youngest, upon being told to wait her turn to talk and not to interrupt her brother, retorted that I was being unfair as he had four whole years to talk to me before she was born!

When I retold this story the next day at the office,  my colleagues made a suggestion that I really loved! They suggested giving both my children an allocated one-on-one time slot in order to pass on any school newsletters, tell me interesting stories about their day, discuss any upcoming events at school, etc. In that way they won’t try to speak over each other and will both feel that they got equal attention. To expand on this idea, they could take turns on who goes first every day!

The value of one-on-one time with your kids

The more I thought about this the more I like the idea of a one-on-one time slot with the kids, it doesn’t even have to be formal, just about 15 minutes set aside before we start with our evening routine, perhaps after dinner, where I do nothing but sit with each of them in turn and listen to them.

I will be starting this next week and will see if the situation improves! My daughter’s school principal said that our lives are so busy and we run around most days like headless chickens that we forget that the most important thing in our lives are our children and we should make the time to just listen and talk to them. I couldn’t agree more!

Do you have any other suggestions on how you divide your time among your children? Any more gems to share please comment below I would love to hear your suggestions!





Anthea O'Neill is a wife and proud mom of three. She is front-end web developer, blogger and a self-proclaimed glitter & yarn addict. Anthea's Project Life is a blog for the modern mom.

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  1. pamela says:

    Life really is hectic especially for a working mom. My kids are all grown but still like to chat at the same time. For me its strange that when I pose the question, ‘how was your day?, I get a ‘ok’ or ‘normal’ but when I don’t ask then all the information comes out in a gush, so needless to say. I bide my time and when they’re ready, I drop what I’m doing and listen attentively because for me thats a treat that my adult kids actually want to talk to their mom.

    1. Anthea says:

      Well said!

  2. a mother of two, i could totally relate to the post and the competition between kids to be heard. Although study time is same for both, I sit with them alternately to give them equal attention. Usually one-on-one time is during bath or bed time..

    1. Anthea says:

      Good idea thanks!

  3. From the heart, Anthea! Our kids have already left the nest, but I recall those after work moments well. We all love the sea, and I have fond memories of us sitting in the waves, each with a kid who wouldn’t stop talking about life. Precious moments, your slots!

    1. Anthea says:

      Sounds like you made really special memories Barbara!

  4. trenna says:

    Funny – I just wrote a post about this two days ago. I don’t have it up yet. We still use a time and now Grandpa and I do it with the grandkids. Good luck on the challenge.

    1. Anthea says:

      And same to you Trenna! I guess it’s not called a “challenge” for nothing! eek…

  5. Your little one thought about that one when she said her older brother had 4 whole years to talk to you before she came around. That was genius! As for me, a wahm consultant, masters student, wife, and friend I allocate time for them to speak to me. It so happens that I pick my girls up at different schools so the little one gets to talk to me first and then the older one. If the conversation is “private” according to either of them then we have mommy time before bed when they have special time with me and/or dad, if they are ready for bed on time AND finish their homework. This way they have an incentive to get to talk to me and I get them to do their homework while I’m on calls with my clients or involved in my own “homework”.

    1. Anthea says:

      Oh wow you have a really full plate! Definitely helps when they come out of school at different times as mine used to too. For now I think I will use the bathtime/bedtime for our one-on-one time slots.

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