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Four Ways to Get One-on-One Quality Time With Kids | Journal of a Dad

Four Ways to Get Quality One-on-One Time With Kids

Several weeks ago, I posted a list of ways we can get involved in our kids’ lives – no matter how busy we are – by including them in some of the tasks we do every day. Now, let’s see if we can take that a step further, again being sensitive to our schedules, by adding quality one-on-one time to the quantity of time we are spending with our kids.

So, how in the world can we do that?

1)      Relax. Don’t think you have to have quality one-on-one time with one or more of your kids every day. Hey, that probably goes against a lot of what you’ve read out there, but as I’ve said before, Journal of a Dad is about what has worked in our family, and I’ve found that with my busy work schedule in the past, if I scheduled quality time with even one of my kids every day and couldn’t follow through, I wound up beating myself up for it and, no matter how much I love my kids, I need to be a realist when it comes to the amount of time I have available and how I prioritize it, for the good of all of us. Notice, however, that this whole post is about scheduling quality time with your kids, already recognizing that you should always have some “quantity” time to spend with them.

2)      Quantify “Quality.” What we’re talking about here is one-on-one time with one kid. Although there are many stipulations you can attach as to what is quality and what is quantity, I’ve found the easiest way to differentiate the two is that quality time is strictly time focused on the kid – no tasks or errands attached. If you’re going out to dinner or a movie or sports event, make sure there’s extra time for talking, and not just the distance to and from the activity in the car. Be creative and keep it light and fun.

3)      Schedule It. There are some that are taken aback when the idea of scheduling time with kids is brought up. My kids actually like it, and by having it on my day planner I keep that time clear of any other tasks or appointments. We actually post a calendar on the fridge with all the family activities planned for the month. Included, of course, is that quality one-on-one time. How? Well, every month each kid knows that on the day of their birthday, they get their “Date with Dad.” In addition, on the other two days per month that end in the same number as their birthday, they get to choose what to have for dinner on one and a cost-free family activity on the other. For instance, my son Casey’s birthday is on the 10th, so his date with dad is on the 10th of each month and his dinner and activity days are on the 20th and 30th. Again, be creative and flexible and find a formula that works for your family.

4)      Be Spontaneous. What? Didn’t you just say to schedule it? Sure, but should you wind up with some extra time on your hands, why not surprise one of your kids and just take them out somewhere to do something they enjoy. While scheduling them in makes them feel important, so does doing things spontaneously. My boys love unplanned adventures!

However you decide to spend that one-on-one quality time, you will find it to be extremely beneficial. Coming up Sunday, we’ll list some of those benefits. Come back to visit then. Have a great weekend!

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