The Importance of One-on-One in Large Families (advice needed!)

Being raised in a small family, one-on-one time with my parents wasn’t something I valued.  My brother is 10 years older than me, so by the time I was old enough to care, he was almost an adult and I felt like an only child.

Now that I have a large family, I recognize the value of one-on-one time with each child.  The dynamics of a large family are different.  There are more fights between siblings, differing personalities, increased financial demands, lack of personal space, and more time is required for the never-ending cleaning and laundry.  Especially for a large homeschooling family, the lack of personal space can feel greater because you’re always together.  In the midst of the choas it’s easy to forget about providing one-on-one time with each child.  

You blink and suddenly they are grown with their own jobs, activities, and families.  I don’t want to look back one day and regret not making time for one-on-one.  Time to get to know each of them as individuals instead of only knowing them as one large family unit.  Time for the quiet child to express himself without little Mr. Talkative interrupting his every sentence. Time for them to get to know us as individuals and not just as parents attempting to run a (sometimes) out of control circus.  This may all sound silly being that obviously parents know their kids, but coming from a small family and now having a large family, I’ve discovered that children have the potential to get lost in the shuffle of our everyday busy lives, and I don’t want that to happen.

My boys don’t usually ask for alone time with us, but my daughter expresses it often.  I’ll be honest and admit that it’s a challenge to find the time.  Daytime is usually out of the question.  Evenings go by quickly with dinner, cleaning up, exhaustion after a long day, and bedtime routines.  I’d love to schedule individual outings for each child, either with each parent individually or both of us together. Of course when you divide 12 months by the number of children and factor in cost, we’re looking at maybe 2 one-on-one outings per child, per year.  Not nearly as many as I’d like but better then nothing!

Quality one-on-one time with each child is one of mine and my husband’s goals for 2017.  I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that I’m struggling with how to schedule and achieve this goal.  I’d love to hear from other large families on how you fit in one-on-one time with each of your children, so please comment!

 

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