This might sound just shocking, but when you have a busy household, careers, and multiple children, in order for a child to get attention, they have to practically demand it. Some kids are better at this than others, and have a knack of getting in your face and engaging in conversation more. Other kids tend to fly under the radar, perhaps they’re just more self-sufficient, or have a more private personality, but if you’re not careful, you can lose them in the chaos of daily life.
Recognizing this early on, Steve and I starting carving out time to have “one-on-ones” with the kids, so for us, that meant each of us would spend some dedicated time with each kid once a month. By dedicated time, I mean going out for an ice cream sundae, taking a walk with the dog, playing a game together, or doing something where the two of us would have some private time together. At first, we had to really work to schedule this time…I’ll admit, it didn’t come easily…but after a few times, the kids caught on and thought it was fantastic. We then fell into the trap of more and more elaborate one-on-ones, (“Let’s play laser tag, and then go to the museum and then out to dinner, and then get ice cream!”) so we had to reel it in a little, but eventually we got into a nice habit of simply carving out that alone time with each child. After about a year, it really became something we didn’t have to schedule any more. We fell naturally into a pattern of spending that time with each child, and still do. These days, it’s much more subtle, but we both continue to carve out alone time with each child. And as our children have grown into teenagers, we’ve found that we truly cherish that time together.