One- on- one fo­cus is key

Townsville Bulletin - - About a Baby -

I’VE only re­cently started a spe­cial ri­tual with my two young daugh­ters.

When­ever I can, I try to set aside qual­ity time with them. Alone.

It’s the alone part of the equa­tion that’s the tricky bit for me.

I’ve only re­cently re­alised how valu­able and im­por­tant one-on-one time is with much longed-for young chil­dren.

It was a morn­ing like many other morn­ings. I was play­ing on the deck with Sophia and Gemma. This time the ac­tiv­ity was play dough cakes.

I had baby Sophia on my lap help­ing her dec­o­rate her play dough cake when I asked Gemma, who was seated op­po­site me and Sophia, if I could put some ‘‘ ic­ing’’ on her ‘‘ cake’’.

Her re­ply stopped me tracks.

‘‘ No, me do. Mummy play with bub­bie. Gem by self.’’

‘‘ Mummy plays with you Gem,’’ I quipped af­ter a few quick gulps.

‘‘ No mummy play bub­bie ( Gem’s name for Sophia),’’ Gem replied.

With those words Gem picked her play dough cake from the lit­tle ta­ble on the deck and walked into the fam­ily room to fin­ish dec­o­rat­ing her play dough cake on her own.

Now, in my heart I prob­a­bly did know that my at­ten­tion had been fo­cused a lit­tle too much on Sophia of late.

My sec­ond-born has been go­ing through what can only be de­scribed as the ‘‘ ter­ri­ble ones’’.

Sophia’s spo­radic sleep habits make her a tad cranky and her sprout­ing teeth seem to add to her woes.

Her tetch­i­ness keeps my at­ten­tion firmly di­rected at her, and, in­ad­ver­tently, away from my el­dest, more easy-go­ing child.

My re­search on one-on-one time alone with a child, cour­tesy of Dr Google, tells me that chil­dren of all ages, in­clud­ing ba­bies, feel they are be­ing seen and be­ing heard by their par­ent when given one-on-one at­ten­tion.

Ap­par­ently alone time be­tween a par­ent and a child – with­out other si­b­lings, peers or an­other par­ent – can help the par­ent and child con-

in my

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de­vel­op­ment

ex- nect, perts.

It got me think­ing how of­ten I sat down with each child alone with no dis­trac­tions, just soak­ing up pos­i­tive one-on-one at­ten­tion.

I was a lit­tle sad­dened to ac­knowl­edge that I hadn’t been spend­ing one-on-one time at­ten­tion with my cher­ished off-spring at all.

The norm at my place is that I in­ter­act with both chil­dren at the same time, jug­gling their de­mands, needs and wants. It’s not a proud mummy mo­ment to ad­mit that it’s of­ten the child who screams the loud­est ( read: Sophia) that gets my at­ten­tion.

So, with­out so much as an ‘‘ I can’t do this’’ thought, I de­cided to em­brace the con­cept of one-on-one alone time im­me­di­ately. That was two months ago. I’ve found that spend­ing qual­ity one-on-one time alone with each child is a feat that takes time and ef­fort to or­gan­ise. With two young chil­dren who share the same sleep­ing sched­ules, it’s hard to grab time alone with ei­ther of them.

But for me, and my hus­band Steve, it’s a feat wor­thy of the ef­fort.

Be­side in­dulging in plenty of fam­ily time to­gether dur­ing the week­ends, we now make an ef­fort to also in­clude one-on-one alone time with the girls.

It has be­come quite a fam­ily week-

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