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Is your middle one complaining about you spending far more time with the youngest/oldest and ignoring her? You get guilt pangs when you miss the birthday parties of any one’s friend? Managing time with more than one kid is quite a walking-on-egg-shells experience. With time and perseverance, though, this too can be conquered. You may have to put away some pre-conceived notions about raising kids and re-organize your own views about parenting. So, be ready for some interesting changes.
As your little one grows and becomes the older kid in the house, it is easy to slip into the ‘but he is your baby brother’ routine. Suddenly, you find yourself with little time for the kids individually. However, that is the one aspect of parenting that is non-negotiable – spending time with your little ones and giving them the attention they deserve individually, which eventually shapes them into the people they turn out to be.
And as a working parent, this responsibility becomes more pronounced, as you spend a major chunk of your day away from them at work. Here are some tips to manage this tight-rope walk.
Tips for Parents
1. Activity Schedule
If either of your kids is old enough to work alongside you while you go about your home chores, involve them in it. Be it folding clothes, putting out the laundry, cutting vegetables, grocery-shopping or gardening – map out quality time you spend with your little ones individually while you go about it. You can map it to factor in likes and dislikes of your kids too. If your elder daughter likes the outdoors while the younger one is more fond of the indoors, there is a clear opportunity to separately plan play dates with each of them. This gives you both the opportunity to bond with each of your children while ensuring your chores are done too.
2. Dropping to School or Back
Work around your schedule such that you are either dropping your kid to school or picking her up on your way back. This allows you to speak to her about her day at school and chat, before you get home and to the responsibilities of the little one. Carpooling while you drop or pick your kid up from school, or an activity class will have an added benefit. You will get an opportunity to interact with your kid, as well as his friends.
3. Supper Time:
Again, laying out the table can be one’s responsibility, while cleaning it up can be of the other kid. Dinnertime can be the time when the entire family sits down and discusses each other’s day.
4. Getting Ready for Bed
Brushing their teeth, bathing them, and tucking them in with a story again are all interesting avenues to work out a schedule, whereby you get to spend time with each of your kids.
These activities can easily be divided with your partner so as to ensure that both of you are well-entrenched into the lives of your children, and neither of you feels left-out. However, just ensure you are fair in your time allocation. Kids are quick to notice additional time spent with the other sibling, and sensitive to get affected by it.
It is imperative to remember that there is no right or wrong when devising ways to spend time with your children. So, what worked with your older children may not be the same with the youngest offspring.