When have your first child it’s a beautiful, magical experience. You’re able to dote on the child, take all the photos, play, give undivided attention, be there for every milestone, and it feels amazing. Then you find out your family is growing and all of a sudden you’re feeling like your time is no longer under your control. You’re trying to respond to the needs of child number one, who is by now used to your attention and laser focus, while also giving child number two (and three and four, etc.) equal attention (among all of your other responsibilities) and you realize this feels like a virtually impossible undertaking.
If this sounds familiar and you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. With self-isolation orders still underway, you may feel especially overwhelmed trying to look after each child, but these three tips can you help you regain a sense of control over your own time and identify ways to create quality time with all of your children and maintain special connections with each of them.
1.) Create One-to-One Time. Though spending time with all of your children is a great way for everyone to bond, it’s still important to invest in one-to-one time with each child. Don’t worry about quantity over quality as in the amount of time you spend with each child shouldn’t be the focus but rather the quality of the interaction is what you are striving for. Your child just wants your attention so if it’s coloring together, reading a book, going for a bike ride, or bowling together it doesn’t matter as long as you’re together. Go on “dates” with your children. Go to the movies or out to breakfast and get their favorite food, find a museum that caters to your child’s interests, go to a baseball game, there are numerous things you can do.
2.) Put Your Phone (and Theirs) Away. The goal here is to have meaningful time with your child. Admittedly, not all screen time is bad for you or for them and there are fun interactive games and videos you can play with your child on the phone; however it does erode your ability to give them your undivided attention and focus. If your phone is on the table in front of you or in your pocket buzzing, even if you’re not actively involved with it, having your phone present diminishes the quality of your interaction.
3.) Make Contact With Your Child. Having as much eye-to-eye contact and loving, playful physical contact with your child in a short amount of time can make a tremendous difference in maximizing the quality and depth of your interaction. Eye contact has been shown in studies to have an important impact on the parent-child bond. Meaningful eye contact, established in the early years and carried into adolescence, has even been linked to a child’s resilience and mental health. Likewise, the benefits of physical contact—from cuddling to roughhousing, and tickling to just reading together—positively impacts kids in every way because it is our “actions” (and interactions) not our words that our children learn from, experience in more sensory ways, and respond to the most.