One on one time with each child is one of the most incredible investments you will make. It doesn’t have to take long. You don’t have to go out with each child every week. If your diary is jammed, you’re parenting alone, it may not be frequent, but is worth making time for.
Whether they are four, fourteen or 24, they need to feel that they’re important in your world and that you have time for them. You may be amazing at taking them to the movies, playing games and going for walks or even grabbing moments when you’re waiting together for – a train, football practice, the doctor. All those things have great value. But in this spinning world, the small gift of creating space in your diary to spend time with them has many advantages:
. Your child will get the clear message that they are important.
. They learn how to sit and communicate and hold conversation without the distractions of screens.
. They learn that going out with you doesn’t mean you’ve got something heavy to say or an agenda.
. They learn that you’re really interested in them.
. They learn to make time to pay attention to people.
Parents often report back after the first time they go out with one of their children that it wasn’t very productive and that the child was distracted. If it’s not been a common practise for you it might take a couple of times for you to find your groove. You can always let them know what you’re up to – that you just want to enjoy their company. No hidden agenda.
We’ve added an extra component to our one on one times with the kids. We’ve given them diplomatic immunity. Whatever they tell us in that time:
No advice unless invited to.
No consequences (as long as they are not a danger to themself or others)
They call it The Trust Bubble.
Over the last 22 years they have shared many things with me, both light and heavy, but there have been two critical pieces of information passed. In both cases, sharing the information with me enabled the kids to choose a different course.
I’d quite like to think we can be trusted at all times, but the reality is these special measures made them feel able to share things that they might have kept to themselves. In both cases they avoided potentially disastrous outcomes.
One of my children recently said “Mum I learned to trust you outside the Trust Bubble because I learned to trust you inside it.
The trust of our children. Priceless