One-On-One Time, It Really Works

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Activities, Family, Learning, Mental Health, Tips

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Parenting experts agree that spending One-on-One time with your children is beneficial. It doesn’t matter what parenting style you use, adding one-on-one time improves your parenting effectiveness and builds strong family ties. So what exactly is one-on-one time and how do parents fit it into their busy lifestyles? 

mother and daughter play legos one-on-one time

What is One-on-One Time?

One-on-One time with your children is 8-15 minutes spent with just one child and one parent. Ideally the child chooses an activity. It can be as simple as taking a walk together, snuggling on the couch or reading a story. The value of each individual One-on-One time builds as the routine continues. 

Right now you may be thinking, “We do this all the time.” That’s great! You are making the first step. Now, formalize it. Call it One-on-One time. Add it to your daily routine. It will become a tradition and a special time between you and your child. This makes One-on-One time even more impactful. 

One-on-One time is quality time. This means that your child gets your undivided attention. You make good eye contact, you are not distracted or multitasking and devices are turned off. Children crave this undivided attention of their parents. It keeps their relationship with you healthy and growing. 

One-on-One time is most effective as a daily routine. This can be challenging, so you may want to start with 3-5 times a week. You can set up a certain time each day that works for your family, or rotate the time. It works best if you put it in your calendar so that the day doesn’t pass by and One-on-One time is forgotten. 

Benefits of One-on-One Time

Every parent wants what is best for their child. The benefits of One-on-One time are so great that you will WANT to start this tradition right away. Here’s how it impacts kids:

  • It communicates to your child how important they are to you
  • They learn respect
  • Your child opens up more easily to you
  • They learn social skills
  • It reduces stress in your child’s life
  • They learn kindness
  • This connection with adults builds resiliency for children
  • Sometimes, unexpected things happen that create a special bond between you and your child
  • One-on-One time can reduce sibling rivalry
  • You fill their LOVE tank

These are the benefits for your child, but there are also benefits for the parents. One-on-One time deepens your empathy for your child. Your unique relationship with your child grows and matures. You build a foundation for a stronger relationship as your child becomes a teenager and young adult. Your child’s familiarity with spending meaningful time together continues to pay off into adulthood. . 

father and son with foreheads together

How to get started

Basically you get started by just doing it! Choose today to spend 8-15 minutes with each child giving them your undivided attention. Tell them this is their One-on-One Time. See how it works and be ready to adjust your time as needed. 

One-on-One time is quality time and the “quality” part of it depends on your level of attention. Children are very insightful. They recognize when adults are giving them their full attention or not. During your time together leave devices off and out of sight. That helps you avoid multitasking. Listen carefully so that your child knows you are not distracted. Make good eye contact. Give your child the highest quality attention possible. They will respond with joy! 

One-on-One time can be a casual time together or a short activity you do with one another. Ask your child to pick something to do. Join them in an activity they enjoy. If necessary set a timer. Ending One-on-One time is important so that it doesn’t become burdensome. Remember the goal is to make good connections with your child in short, repetitive encounters. You can still spend time doing activities that take more time, just don’t call it One-on-One time.

If fact, one of the things you could do during One-on-One time is to plan a bigger activity. Perhaps a Date Night together would be fun. Some families celebrate a Special Night with their children every month on the date of the child’s birth. For example, If their birthday is Jan. 5, on the 5th of every month they have a Special Night with a parent. 

Some tips for making One-on-One time work:

  • Keep other children occupied
  • If other children interrupt, dock time during their One-on-One time (enforce this and they’ll quickly learn)
  • Put younger children to bed first
  • Praise good behavior and ignore minor misbehavior (One-on-One time should be a positive interaction)
  • Have a few ideas handy in case your child can’t decide what to do

Making One-on-One time successful! 

One-on-One time is so meaningful you will want to commit to doing it each day. If that is too challenging, choose a few days in the week to schedule your time. Write it on the calendar, put it in your reminders, set an alarm or do whatever works for you to stay committed to this new habit. It takes 21 days for a new habit to become a practice in your life. 

Dedicate yourself to trying this parenting practice for 21 days. We have some help for you. Click here and receive a new email every day for 21 days. The daily email will give you two ideas for One-on-One time activities. You may choose between those or another of your own, but the daily email will be a great reminder! 

mom and daughter snuggle on couch

One-on-One time is a great way to help your kids become mentally and emotionally strong. Our children crave this special time with their parents. 

Don’t wait until their is a behavioral problem to begin using this terrific parenting strategy. One-on-One time is money in the bank when it comes to dealing with future behavioral issues. You can fill your child’s bucket with positive emotions and quality interactions so that when you do need to correct them, they won’t question your love and care for them. 

It will make a world of difference in your family life and your long term parent/child relationship. Give it a try today! 

One-On-One Time, It Really Works

by Lisa Reichelt, M.Ed., Parent Coach

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