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Tips and Ideas for Dads and Families - Part 2

Four Benefits Of Quality One-On-One Time With Your Kids

It’s important to spend time – any time we can find – with our kids. It’s also very important, especially as dads, to carve out one-on-one quality time with each one of our kids as regularly as we can. The benefits are amazing, and also have a tendency to be residual in nature.

1)      Knowing by Learning. The more we learn about our kids, the more we know them, and the better we’ll do in the relationship, especially when there is conflict or challenges. It seems simple enough, but be honest about it – do you really know what makes your kid(s) tick? I was embarrassed when I put myself to the test. And another note – it’s never too late to start. While we should get into the habit early into our kids’ lives, if we haven’t done so (while it may be more difficult), it’s always worth trying – no matter what their age.

2)      Building Self Esteem. This is an easy one. When a kid is being paid attention, he/she feels important. We always want our kids to feel important and really know how much we care about them. In a world that is ever-increasingly “me first,” one-on-one quality time with each kid not only proves that they and what they are interested in are important enough in our schedules, but also teaches them to follow our lead. Studies have also proven this to be an especially great help for kids who struggle with ADD or ADHD.

3)      Reducing Sibling Rivalry. Where the bond between parents and each individual child is strong due to the one-on-one quality time being spent with each, it has been proven to greatly reduce sibling rivalry in the household. Since the parents really know (or at least have a clue) what’s going on, the challenges are generally met before they blow up into huge problems. We parents do need to be levelheaded in our approach, of course, because any appearance of favoritism will destroy this benefit.

4)      Handling Stress. Talking things out and knowing what stresses out our kids will greatly help the family deal with the inevitable stress monster. As was discussed in this post last week, our kids basically learn how to deal with stress from us. It’d be good and therapeutic for all of us to discuss our approach when such situations arise, whether it be their stress or ours.

It’s easy to be a parent, especially a dad, whose relationship with kids is basically a slew of barked out orders, threats of consequences and tough challenges. The flip side is often a dad who says nothing and then wonders why his kids don’t talk to him. We need to pay attention, ask questions, and study, because it is indeed an education.  Talk regularly, one-on-one, and enjoy the quality time.

For ideas on how to carve out that time, read our previous post.

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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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