Benefits of One-on-One Time with Your Child (And Ideas!)

You probably already know all about the importance of continuing to date your spouse after you get married. But did you also know how important it is to “date” each of your children? The benefits of spending one-on-one time with your children can NOT be overstated! Even in the busiest of family schedules, spending one-on-one time with your children can be truly cup-filling, rather than feeling like an additional event on your calendar.


Mom and Daughter Having Picnic in Park Sitting in My Chair


In case you need some convincing, here are the Top 5 reasons to spend one-on-one time with your kiddos:

1. It strengthens your relationship! Just like with your spouse, having fun and talking with your child strengthens your relationship! Psychologist John Gottman found that relationships with a 5:1 positive to negative interaction ratio (or greater!) were strongest.

2. It reduces sibling rivalry. Have you ever noticed how much better-behaved your child is when siblings aren’t around? Spending one-on-one time with your children helps each child to feel seen and valued. When each of your children’s relational needs are being met, there is reduced competition with one another.


Children Playing on My Play Mat Outside


3. Engaging in regular conversation and one-on-one time allows your child to open up more and come to you when it really matters. Sure, you might listen to endless analyses of Pokémon and Minecraft to get to conversations that matter, but trust me: it’s worth it.

4. It helps children learn social and communication skills! Children learn best when parents model healthy behavior, rather than just talking about healthy behavior. When you spend one-on-one time with your child, model how you want them to behave. Look them in the eyes. Put your phone on silent. Let them make choices about what they want to do during their one-on-one time. Open doors for them. Not only does this model how you want your child to behave, but you are also modeling how your child should be treated in a relationship. As they grow, they are less likely to tolerate being mistreated!


Mom and Daughter Roasting Marshmallows on My Cot Pal


5. It reduces negative attention-seeking behavior! Children receiving enough positive attention have less need to seek attention by negative means.


Need some ideas? Whether at home or out and about, here are some ideas to get you started!

• Bowling, go-carts, or mini-golf

• Park playdate

• Read a book

• Play catch, softball, soccer, golf, tennis, etc.

• Play board games

• Do an art project

• Cook or bake something

• Coffee or ice cream date

• Go to a children’s museum

• Create a scavenger hunt

• Go to the zoo

• Go to a thrift store or used book store

• Do a science experiment

• Let your child do your hair and makeup

• Have a picnic


Mom and Daughter Reading a Book Behind In Sight Safety Gate


What other ideas do you have? What is your child’s favorite thing to do with you?

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