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Connect With Your Child


Between the demands of your career and the desire to spend time with your family, you may be missing out on a very valuable opportunity to connect with your child.

When was the last time that you did something that was just you and your child?

Spending time together as a family is very important but spending special time with your child individually provides an outstanding opportunity to bond. As a child I can remember some of the special time that my dad spent with me and those are some of my fondest memories.

The one activity that stands out in my mind the most was when my dad and I would grab our baseball gloves and play catch out on the driveway. It was a time that was just the two of us to share together. We would share quite a few laughs and our conversations would wander all over the place.

This one-on-one time with your child will enforce the fact that they are important to you and will provide them with a wealth of special memories of your time together.

What are some of the things your child enjoys that you can do together?

It can be as simple as a walk to the park, a bike ride through the neighborhood, or a game of catch like I used to share with my dad. The actual activity isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you are spending the time with your child.

One tradition in our family is to use bedtime as an opportunity for one-on-one time. Each night I will read a story to one of our children while my wife reads to our other child. This is a quick way for us to have a little one-on-one time and share a quiet moment with our kids.

If you aren’t sure what activities you can participate in with your child, you might want to involve them in the process. Sit down with your child, each of them individually if you have more than one, and create a list of things that you like to do together.

Once you have created a list of things that you both enjoy - while being sure to exclude some of the unrealistic suggestions your kids are likely to come up with - you can simply pick an activity to share with your child on a regular basis.

Here are a few examples of things that I like to do with my kids:

  • Play catch out in the yard.
  • Walk downtown and grab an ice cream cone.
  • WWE-style wrestling match.
  • Play at the park.

When you set aside this time to spend with your child, do your best to eliminate distractions that can detract from your special time. Something as simple as letting your cell phone ring without answering can show your child that their time with you is important and they truly are special to you.

I’d love to hear some of the one-on-one activities that you enjoy with your child.

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    On October 5th, 2007 at 2:06 am, JLow said:

    I’ve talked about putting our Caitlin to bed & chatting with her in the dark almost every night. Sadly this is because Mummee is the workaholic between us & is usually not home yet at Caitlin’s bedtime.

    I have see how my older brothers have engaged their kids in showing them things for the first time in their lives. I think being there during the first times creates that bond as the child grows. “My dad showed me how to put petrol in the car”, “My dad taught me the word ‘cocoon’” [check out my post on Pocoyo & you’d know what I mean!]

    I think it would be even more interesting with once-a-lifetime events: Who were you with when you saw Haley’s Comet?

    We only have one child at the moment, so it’d be interesting to see how we will handle things once our second one comes in January.

    On October 6th, 2007 at 8:16 am, ToddlerDaddy said:

    While I don’t have a special time as such with our toddler there are certain things that just tend to happen only with me. These are generally the more dangerous activities like jumping off the couch onto her beanbag, or climbing up things. This is because Wife always says to only do these when I am around because at least I can catch Little Miss. This has the effect of whenever I am around Little Miss insists we do these things together.

    The other thing we have, which I guess is a little more structured, is when I am home for breakfast on the weekend I always cook a special breakfast (porridge and eggs) and we eat it together.

    I am also doing my best to get her interested in the sports I love - but sadly I am losing that battle to Dora and the Wiggles.

    On October 6th, 2007 at 1:59 pm, JLow said:

    Time is always an issue, isn’t it? That’s why I read with interest this Dad Balance blog!

    Caitlin nags me for activities to do together: swimming, going to the park (for its turtles in the lake & the playground), groceries run.

    I am now cultivating the bedtime story like ToddlerDaddy with his kids. So far it seems to be something Caitlin looks forward to; well, at least not mind foregoing her Playhouse Disney channel for..

    On October 8th, 2007 at 7:59 am, Derek Semmler said:

    JLow :: Bedtime does provide a great chance to spend a little time with your child. In our house, our oldest gets to stay up 30 minutes later than our youngest now and lately we have been taking that time to sit together and talk about a wide variety of topics and I absolutely cherish this time right now.

    @ToddlerDaddy :: It is funny how quite a few of the “dad” activities involve risky behavior on the part of the kids. Our kids’ adventurous “stunts” are typically done with me as well. Your breakfast time sounds very nice as well.

    @JLow (again) :: Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, it is truly appreciated!

    On October 29th, 2007 at 12:41 am, JLow said:

    Hey Derek,

    I came across this & knew I had to share it.


    I don’t know about other dads, but I am willing to give this one a try as well with Caitlin; at least it shouldn’t take as long as the air castle fiasco!

    On October 29th, 2007 at 11:05 am, Derek Semmler said:

    John, that is amazing! Thanks for sharing the link.

    My kids are a little too old for that so I will be spared from having to try it. But looking at those pictures reminds me of the Christmas that I tried to build the kids a table for their train set. It would have been much easier, and possibly more cost efficient, to have just bought the pre-made table.

    Be sure to post about it if you give this a try!

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Dad Balance Digest :: Premier Edition | Dad Balance on October 9th, 2007 at 9:57 pm
    2. Dad = Play Time :: Mom = Everything Else | Dad Balance on November 19th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

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