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Alexander Residence: Quality Time

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Quality Time

I have been reflecting on how to achieve quality time with both my children. They are 2 and 5 and not given to respecting each other's space or need for quality one-on-one time. I took my son on a train to a blogging event and it really sank in how magical that time together, away from the normal routine was. He totally relished it, look at these smiles:


I made him this photo collage for his nursery show and tell, his keyworker said he wouldn't stop talking about it. Which made me feel I had hit on something very important. But then my daughter saw it and caught onto the fact that she had been at school and missed out. So over half term, while her brother was at nursery, I took time out to take her on a bus and a train to the local nature reserve.


Except my son saw the pictures we took at the nature reserve and he wants to go on a boat now. And my daughter is still bitter my son got to ride in a taxi on his day out and see London. I've started something big here I can see.

Which reminds me that Tamsin from Looking for Dragons  (a great blog about adventuring with children) told me about a lovely idea for giving individual children quality time.  A couple she knows take it in turns to take  one of their children out somewhere on the date of that child's birthday every month, while the other parent takes the other child on the date of their birthday.  The next month the parent takes the other child.  Great system.

How do you get quality time with all of your children?  Or even just with one child and one parent?  Any tips?

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25 Comments:

At 8 November 2011 at 09:24 , Blogger RedTedArt said...

Aaah bless. Quality time rocks. We definitely need to do more of that here!! Am taking my older one (almost 4) to the theatre soon (Stick Man), so that will be a good afternoon together. Will have to make an effort with younger one, as I am with her in the mornings and we tend to stick to routines. Must do something special for her too!

Maggy

 
At 8 November 2011 at 13:04 , Blogger Mel said...

These pictures are great! Your kids are adorable. I still only have one child, so it makes it much easier to spend quality time as it is still all about her!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 13:31 , OpenID cheetahsinmyshoes said...

Both my children are desperate for 'mamma time' as they've christened it, unfortunately it tends to go to whichever one I have to take to the hospital - we do try and juggle something cool in as well. We do split the bedtime 'story time' up between us so they get some focussed parent time and neither one sabotages the other - but for fun days out, it's a really hard juggle!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 13:38 , Anonymous helloitsgemma said...

Love Looking for Dragons - thank you.
I think it's so much easier with one. I used to think quality time was about going off an doing stuff but this summer I've discovered just walking to nursery is such a pleasure, something I've previously not been afforded.
I'm awful at hanging onto my phone then getting distracted by it - I make a conscious effort to put it in another room. Yesterday, afternoon we played crocodiles which involved squashing into a babies sleep tent together in the middle of the living room and lots of snapping.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 13:44 , Blogger multiplemummy said...

Oh I totally understand where you are coming from. I went on a blogging event on Sunday and took Noah by train and we had a fabulous time together. I spend my days feeling guilty that they all have to share me so much. Luckily they don't quite get 'mine is better than yours situation yet, but that will come I know!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:10 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Maggy - ooh Stick Man will be fab, enjoy. Theatre used to me and my daughter's thing, but my boy is old enough to appreciate it too now!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:10 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Mel - thanks, yes I can def see the benefits looking round at my friends with one child :)

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:12 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

cheetahsinmyshoes - sabotage is the name of the game isn't it. I'm working on my anti sabotage strategies

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:12 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Gemma - knew you would. Great tip on phones, I keep threatening to get rid of my iphone, but can't quite bring myself to, but we need more rules round it in this house.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:13 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Kerry - sounds like a lovely day, it's amazing how a simple thing like a train can make all the difference.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 14:22 , Anonymous Emma @mummymummymum said...

Before I had baby H, I had one day each week with each child alone, which was lovely. These days I find it very difficult to spend quality time with each child alone, especially now naps for my 3 year old are few and far between. I do love it and really appreciate the time when I do get time alone with one of them. Perhaps hubby and I need a system. xx

 
At 8 November 2011 at 17:59 , Anonymous Claire said...

What a lovely idea! Until recently all quality time has been around my eldest, who's 4, but now the 2 year old is twigging on and being a lot more demanding (I don't blame him) and we need to give them some time on their own. I read somewhere that bickering is much worse when kids are always dumped together and I'm sure that's true.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 18:02 , OpenID motherporridge said...

Such lovely pics. I wish I could take my children out individually but there's no way we could do the birthday thing as my OH works every day until after the children are in bed, except Saturdays. Am thinking we should breakup the routine a bit though this Saturday... natural history museum or science museum maybe...

 
At 8 November 2011 at 20:13 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Emma - yes, it got so tough for me once the naps disappeared, the last year has been very tough, but L starting school has made a big difference.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 20:13 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Claire - oh I think that's so true! Yes, my 2 yo has just caught on, must be an age thing.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 20:16 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Mother porridge - thank you :) So want to take mine to the natural history museum, jealous! We love 'splitting up' at the weekends, taking a child each for a morning then all getting together later on. Although my husband and I don't see much of each other in the week it sometimes just makes for a happier family if there aren't four of us wanting attention simultaneously!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 20:29 , OpenID Ali said...

I love 'looking for dragons' tip, that is brilliant. One to one time is so important, as my two are older now it's easier. We do different things we enjoy together. Bex and I have lots of one to one time dog walking. Oscar and I draw together and bug hunt together. Sometimes when we go out as a family we might drift into pairs which gives added one to one time.

I think I spend more one to one time with Bex which I must adjust.

A bit of fishing is done on a one to one base with 'Dad' I not big on that sort of thing.

Cooking I do one to one with both of them.

But day's out I really only have done just with Bex kind of girls shopping trip's and Oscar does something with my husband.

Again must look at that. See you made me think again!!! xxx

Sorry no tips there really!!!

 
At 8 November 2011 at 20:33 , Anonymous Kez Bratt said...

How.....different dads ;)

 
At 8 November 2011 at 22:58 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Ali - maybe not tips, but wow you have given me a lovely vision of the future! I'm excited for the days when we can pair of with less planning and effort.

 
At 8 November 2011 at 23:00 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Kez - Hmmm, bit late for that. Hope they're both good by the way - Dads and Kids ;)

 
At 9 November 2011 at 22:11 , Anonymous Midlife Singlemum said...

As Gemma says - it's easier with one but I still have to make sure we have special quality time. Obviously DD gets my full attention every day after Gan but as she gets older I am very aware of the need to do/go to/see special things with her - that she'll remember for a while and be excited by. Even 3yos can get into a rut and need some excitement.

 
At 9 November 2011 at 22:12 , Anonymous MIdlife singlemum said...

Sorry, Gan is nursery.

 
At 10 November 2011 at 12:19 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

They definitely can get in a rut, you'r right, and just when their minds are like sponges for new stuff!

 
At 12 November 2011 at 12:51 , Blogger Alysonsblog said...

this really struck a chord with me, with 3 daughter individual one on one time is rare as rocking horse poop but oh so needed - Im going to try harder to make it happen, well done for doing it, the look of pure glee on their faces makes it so worthwhile doesnt it?

 
At 16 November 2011 at 21:43 , Anonymous TheBoyandMe said...

That's a fabulous idea! I'm the youngest of four and my nan used to have three of us on Saturday afternoons so that my mum could spend the afternoon with the other one. Every week without fail (my dad was pretty useless back then!) we would have 1-1 time with mum!

 

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