The hubbub of work and school sometimes leave little space for us to give attention to our children individually. Nonetheless, In our family we have figured out 3 effective habits to let each child know that they are special, because they are.
1. Acknowledge their contributions or bigger achievements. Make a point of speaking about the things that you like about each of your children. You can do this as you go about your daily life or you can try what our family has been doing:
Every Sunday night we have a mini family bedtime routine whereby we come together and everyone starts sharing
– “I love it when [so and so] ….. [does something]” or
– “I like [so and so] because ……. “ or
– “[so and so] makes me happy when [he/she]…
We did not only restrict the sentences to our children but each family member gets to tell at least one thing they like about all the other members in the family.
A lot of times we hear happy giggles during this session, sometimes silly sentences come out. Even then, laughing together promotes bonding, just make sure there is no teasing involved because that would have defeated the purpose of making someone feel loved and special.
2. We have monthly dates with our boys on specific dates. They know exactly which day is their date night with either one of the parents. This is how it goes:
– the day of their birthday will be their monthly date for their date. For example if your child was born on 5th of June, we would make his date with a parent on every 5th of the month. They LOVE looking forward to their special date on the calendar as they know exactly when it is. It’s already fixed for the whole year!
– we alternate the parents that go out on these dates. For example January is mummy’s turn to date 3 boys on their own individual days. Then February is daddy’s turn, and back to mummy in March and so on. This way each child gets an undivided attention for some period of time every month and each parent gets to give their time to one child fully in that period of time.
For the child it’s like being an only child once a month. Isn’t that nice? 🙂
– to make the date even better? Let them choose what they want to do on their date day (within reason). You’re guaranteed a happy child for those few hours 🙂
3. Allow for open communication. In our family, we try very hard to let the kids be heard. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sometimes we just want to tell them what needs to be done and how they should behave and we forget that they have their own reasons or logic to do certain things.
Listening on the part of adults make children feel that they are loved and that they matter.
To sum up, each child will feel important if parents can
– acknowledge their contribution
– give them undivided attention consistently
If you have not been doing the above, here is a challenge for you to take for the next one week.
- When my child has done something right, I’m going to praise his/her effort by saying ______________ .
- I’m going to decide on the frequency and duration I want to give each child my fullest attention. The frequency is __________ , for a duration of _____________. I’m going to start on _________________ (date)
- After my child expresses himself in words, I will make an effort to rephrase what he/she had just said so they know I was listening.
Let me know how it goes in the comments!