One- on- one focus is key
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-
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-