Monday, October 24, 2011

Individual Time With Each Child

My husband and I refer to our kids as my husbands little fan club.  They all want to be thrown up in the air, go places with him, and when he comes home from work there is much rejoicing!  They each want daddy all to themselves, then, when they've had that, they decide individual time with me!

So my hubby and I have been really trying to make sure that the kids get individual time as well as family time with each of us.  A lot of parents do this, but as I've read about other people's ideas, they are generally things like going out for ice cream, going to a museum or zoo or whatever.  Which is great, but we rarely if ever have the money to spend on non-essentials, so we need to get creative. 

Right now our kids are young enough that grocery shopping alone is a wonderful experience for them.  When I take the kids to Walmart (I know I might be a redneck) they think it's a treat, because Walmart gives kids a free cookie (not after 8 pm around here I found out) and they have one of those trucks that the kids sit in and you put in quarters to make it move.  But we don't put quarters in it because it's really not that impressive, and quarters are money (did you just learn something?).  The best part about said truck is that two kids can fit in at once (in case we're not having individual time) and it's an ice cream truck.  So after we go shopping, the kid(s) will get in the truck (after asking) and one will "drive" while the other passes out ice cream, then they'll switch and have a grand old free time of imagination.  I'll pretend to buy ice cream and ask for different flavors and the like. 

The park is a great standby.  And when one of us spends individual time with one of our kids we always play with them and climb up in the play equipment and slide down the slides, and spin with them on the merry-go-round and play tag and just really make it something that they enjoy!  Plus it's great exercise!

Running errands is a lot easier with one child than with two or three or more.  A little over a week ago, my husband had to spend part of his day off delivering tires from one store to the store he works for.  He took our three year old son with him.  This was great male bonding.  At the store my husband works for the manager gave our son a picture of a race car, and he got to see all the cool equipment tat daddy works with, but he thought it was too noisy, so daddy gave him some earplugs that they have for employees that no one uses. 

When we lived at my parents house, my husband would take our daughter outside and they would walk around and eat fresh produce right out of the garden!  They would have snap peas, blueberries, and strawberries right off the vine, and talk about whatever was on her then two year old mind and they would pet the cats and hold daddy's hand.  You never saw a more content little girl.

I also believe that work is a good way of spending individual time with kids.  My kids are kind of young for them to work very long or hard,  but in our last place we tried to have a garden (it fell by the wayside when my third was born, like i was busy or something!) but while it was growing one of us (my hubby or I) would go out to water it during the evening and we'd take one kid with us and let them help water the garden.  Tilling and planting was a family activity, but watering was something  we could do individually, and usually turned into some kind of water fight!  I was always grateful for that though, it was hot!

There is a community college really close to our apartment, so another thing we do is go there.  They have a trail we sometimes walk on, plus some pull up bars and sit up platforms that our kids enjoy working out with us on, but the biggest hit with our kids, is in the middle of campus there is a big grassy hill.  They tried rolling down it, but it's been so dry that the grass was very pokey and left some red marks on my daughter's arm.  So they just run down it instead (when do classes are going on of course).

There are lots of other free or practically free things to spend individual or even family time with kids, but these are some of the ideas that I have noticed us going back to several times.

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