How Important Is Quality Alone Time With Each Child?
It’s kind of impossible to talk about this subject without using a personal anecdote. I am one of five children. The eldest of the pack.
Life was always extremely hectic and busy and we didn’t know any different. Some of my fondest memories are of Thursdays which was the big food shop day. My mother would lump us all into the car and we had a little routine. She would have one of us in the trolley, one on each side of the trolley holding on and one walking beside her kind of pushing the trolley. In later years when the youngest came along, there was probably a sling and buggy in there too. When the food shop was done (and if we behaved) we were treated to a cream cake afterwards. We looked forward to it so much.
Anyway, that is all besides the point but I wanted to talk about those rare times that we got to have one to one time with my mam. Logistically it just couldn’t happen very often but when it did it was something really special. Some of my fondest memories are little pockets of alone time between me and my mother. It might have been for the simplest of reasons or the most mundane task but it was just us two and that alone made it really special.
That’s the thing about alone time with one child. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. A big day out or something that costs a bomb is nice in theory but it’s really not even necessary. When it comes to spending individual alone time with your children the most important thing is your company. When your child has you all to themselves it feels really magical.
I remember going with my mam to pick up the take away. We got one every couple of weeks and it was a buffet affair where we got a lot of different bits and bobs and everybody shared everything. It was a bit of an ordeal ringing in the order, getting it right and then setting out all the plates and cutlery. The deal was usually that we all had to be in our pjs by the time it arrived. When I look back now it just made the whole thing so cosy. To this day I love running up to have a shower and put my pjs on after we’ve phoned in a takeaway order.
On some occasions, very rarely, I was allowed to come with my mam or dad to collect the takeaway and it was honestly so exciting. Going out in the car when it was dark, wondering would it be ready when we got there and then taking it home as the car filled with the gorgeous smell. We would sneak a few chips or prawn crackers and nobody would ever know. The best part of all was the chats though. For those brief ten minutes up and ten minutes back we talked. Really talked. I had a forum to talk about my little world and share it with my parents. It was a safe place to talk about my friendships, my worries and my joy without being interrupted.
As an adult now I still crave this time with my mother. When we get an opportunity to grab a coffee or just drive somewhere in the car together I am transported back to that time where she was all mine. It suddenly becomes that forum again. That really special place. The floodgates open and I just talk and talk some more. It’s something I will never take for granted.
So that’s my two cents. No psychology or research information – just straight from the horse’s mouth. Alone time with your kids, even rarely, is unbelievably important.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.
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