Let’s face it: Our kids need attention, and they all need it 100% of the time. Whether you have two or four kids, it’s difficult to make sure they are all getting equal attention and that other aspects of your life aren’t neglected in the meantime. So how do we make sure each child is happy, the house is managed, our job doesn’t fall to the wayside, and that both our spouse and ourselves are also satisfied? Let’s talk about a few different ways:
• Understand each child’s individual needs. It’s incredibly important to identify each child’s individuality. If your son desires independence and to feel like an adult, know that spending time with you means you involve yourself only enough that they still feel grown up and that the activities are more mature. If you know your daughter loves cooking, bonding, and artwork, you can better recognize activities that will make her happy and that you can be a part of. It’s the first step to making sure you are recognizing their unique needs so you can cater your time spent with them doing things they love.
• One-on-one time. While spending time with your children and your spouse all at once is a great option to make sure no one feels left out, the truth of the matter is that everyone also needs some one-on-one time. But how do we make this happen and make sure that there’s enough time for everyone? It’s actually fairly simple. One option is that both you and your spouse take a child. This is a great option if you only have two kids. If one of your kids loves animals and the other loves sports, have your spouse take one to the zoo and you take the other to the ballgame. Next time your kids need some individual attention, you can swap. If you need something less time-consuming and closer to home, try having your spouse take the dog for a walk with one of your kids and playing catch in the backyard with the other. If you don’t have the option to share this time with another spouse, try to stagger naptime. By catering these activities to what your child loves, you can be sure they never feel neglected and that their one-on-one time is special and individual to them.
• Be sure to promote independence. While we love spending time with our kids and know they need that to grow and mature, they also need time alone. By teaching them to be independent and to not rely solely on our attention, we set them up to grow up to be strong individuals who have no trouble reaching success on their own.
• Spend time as a family. This may seem counterproductive when trying to figure out how to divide your time between your children, but spending time as a family still counts. You should never try to choose one type of parenting approach over the other; rather, you should implement little pieces of each.
If you have more than one child, how do you divide the attention you give them?