Sarah E. Ludwig

Sarah E. Ludwig

Outnumbered!

4-to-1 Odds Can Be Daunting

Four kids, one mom: The odds aren't good.

Posted Jan 20, 2010

Every once in awhile, my kids all need me at once. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I could easily cross the line from sanity to all-out craziness, if I let myself. This is probably due, in part, to the fact that it usually happens after school, when everyone is tired and cranky and not very prone to being reasonable. The kids are gone from 7:25 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. every day, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time for anything besides unwinding a bit, eating, bathing, and doing homework.

Obviously one of the biggest obstacles in parenting a large family is getting enough one-on-one time with each child. It's incredibly easy to get swept along in the demands multiple children bring without singling anyone out for individual attention. Days can pass in this manner before I realize that my youngest's meltdown or my daughter's moodiness may actually be due in part to the need for some interaction with me.

One-on-one time can be extremely difficult to come by, which is why when I heard this idea from a friend of mine, I decided I should implement it. She said that her parents rotated between her, her sister and her brother every night for a special ten minute quiet time together. While the other two siblings went to bed, the third was able to spend time with either Mom or Dad, reading a book together, or talking or even just snuggling together on the couch. She recalled this tradition with the utmost fondness and expressed how much she looked forward to her turn, even as a teenager.

What a wonderful idea! It's so simple, and doesn't even take that much time. Surely as parents we can manage to invest ten minutes a night to just hang out, connect with and appreciate one of our kids, no matter how many children we have. My biggest challenge has been to implement this practice. I need to make it part of my routine so that it becomes habit.

What are your tricks for squeezing extra one-on-one time in with your kids?

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