By Cheryl Bac
One-on-one timeUploaded: Jan 18, 2018
A couple months ago I found myself sitting on our son's floor being pulled in three different directions. Baby wanted me to nurse her in a quiet room, our son wanted to play Clue Jr and our daughter wanted me to hold her and read Pinkalicious. At that moment I realized that I wouldn't be able to give any of our kids the one-on-one time that they wanted. And that our regular daily routine was no longer working.
So I made two big changes.
First, our older kids started playing on their own, with each other, and with their friends much more frequently. I was getting down on the floor to play with them a lot less. I spent more time supervising them, holding baby and cleaning. Although I wasn't giving our older kids my full, undivided attention as often, I spent a lot of the day talking with them. While holding baby and/or cleaning we could talk for hours about animals, science, friends and school.
Second, when I was actively playing with our two older kids, I made it very clear that everyone was allowed to join in and play. If I sat down to play Zingo with our son, his sister was always welcome to join. If I started coloring with our daughter, her brother was always welcome to color too. And, as long as I wasn't nursing or putting baby to sleep, our older kids were always welcome to play with baby. Once our kids stopped expecting one-on-one time with me during the day, they quickly discovered just how much fun one-on-two and one-on-three time can be.
I think these changes helped, but baby learning to crawl made all the difference. Now I'm rarely pulled in three different directions at once. Even if all three kids are awake, I'm finally able to sit down and do Legos with our son. And even if baby is awake and her brother is home from school, I'm finally able to hold our daughter and read Pinkalicious. These days baby is busy crawling everywhere, exploring our home, and keeping a close eye on her silly siblings.
Even though this our third baby, I had forgotten just how quickly babies can shift from wanting to be constantly held to wanting to crawl away and explore. And, the third time around, I'm very grateful to use this new milestone as an opportunity to sit down and play with our older kids. It may not exactly be one-on-one time, but we love our one-on-two and one-on-three time just as much.