How to make each child feel important (in a large family)

How can you make each child feel important?  Have one on one time with your kids. Devote time to JUST THAT CHILD!   It really is just that easy- spend time listening to your child and talking with your child… say yes when they ask you to lie down with them when you tuck them.  These moments of individual time all add up to a very loved child.

My husband and I have four children, each two years apart.  No matter how old our children become, the time with them is so important and cannot be forgotten, missed or put on hold.  From the early years with young children to later years with teens, every year is as important as the year before.   Looking back on our family history, we have seen just how amazing it is when you have close relationships with your children.  It’s a bond that lasts for a lifetime.

One day, before you know it, they will become your best friends.  They will be kind and loving, they will have good social skills and be respectful.  They will be confident because they know that you took the time to spend with them because you loved them.

These moments of one on one time are when our children build relationships during these moments.  Children learn how much they are loved when they have individual time with each of their family members.

Spending one on one time with each of them can be challenging because they each want our attention all of the time. I was talking about this with my dear friend, Kristy (an early childhood expert & a child development therapist), and she told me a wonderful parenting idea that we have since adopted and we now use every month.  It is important to make every child important.

No matter which of the parenting styles you use in your family life, no matter how parents rear their children, raise their children or work with their children, we’ve heard this works wonders.   It’s the simple act of individual time to show your child that you care.  I receive e-mails daily talking about how parents and grandparents have adopted this tradition with their nuclear family and extended family, and are seeing huge benefits from it.

Every month on our child’s ‘birth date”, they get to have “their night”(example: our first son was born on August 29th, so every month on the 29th is his night. Our second son was born on April 18th, so the 18th of every month is his night).

On their night, they get to stay up about 20-30 minutes later than normal and can pick to do whatever they want with us, but it can not be watching TV or playing on the computer (no electronics). We can play a board game, read a book, go on a walk, the kids help my husband change the oil in his car, or even bake quick 3-ingredient cookies.

When we are finished and it is time for them to go to bed, we have them sit with us.

We tell them two specific things (two from each of us) that we love about them (example: “I love how you are so funny and smile all of the time! I love how you are so sweet to your little sister and make her laugh when she starts to cry.”)  We each do this, each listing at least two things that we cherish about him. Afterward, my husband and I hold our child’s hands and we say a prayer for that child (or use the Prayer Hand), out loud for them to hear…

Finally, we lie down with him, when we tuck them into bed at night.  (Any time that you get to cuddle with your kids is a good time.)   

Now, I won’t say that our other kids aren’t a little jealous of the “birthday” child during this time.   They, too, want it to be their ‘special night”, but to resolve this, we let our other kids read books in their beds (quietly) until the other ones are going to bed.   They get to stay up late, too, so they are happy.   Our kids go to bed at 7:00 on most nights, so staying up until 7:20 is really no big deal.

To make sure that I remember to do this, I have a monthly reminder set in my phone, so every 29th, it goes off at 5:00 pm to say “Jack stays up”.  Every 18th, it says “Beau stays up tonight!”.  Every 25th, “Ethan stays up!” and every 7th “Allie stays up!”   I also write it big on our calendar so that they can see it & be excited themselves!  (They LOVE to watch the calendar to see how it slowly comes to their day).

Just use this time to get to know your child even better.   Snuggle with them and learn from them.  Talk to them and enjoy them… have fun!  Your children will become your favorite group of people, but let them know just how much you cherish your individual time with them.

Any time that you can give a child your undivided attention, you are making a lasting impression in their hearts. A memory to last a lifetime…

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