|Brayden and me making sugar cookies|
No matter the number of children, once you have them here, how to you ensure you can meet the needs of each child? As you add children to your family, you will no doubt find this takes more effort and more coordination, as well as more of your time. I believe we can all be made equal to the task :) That doesn't mean I think it will be smooth sailing, but we can get there.
GIVE YOUR TIME
Dr. Anthony P. Witham said, "Children spell love...T-I-M-E." This is so true! And I am not talking "take fifteen minutes and make it super special and quality and call it good" time. They want TIME.
This, of course, is difficult to accomplish. We have babies, other kids, cleaning, errands, volunteering, jobs, and other relationships...time is definitely the main issue we are facing here in wanting to make sure we meet each child's need. Not only how do you meet that need to spend time with the child, but each person brings a whole set of clothes to wash, errands to be ran for, sports teams to join, doctors to visit...every person requires time.
Here is the trick. You need to figure out what is really necessary. You need to prioritize things. Let me tell you, my house is not as deep clean as it was when I had two kids. I simply cannot spend as much time cleaning as I did. As my children get older, they are able to help with cleaning tasks to help spread the work load, which is helpful (plus it helps teach them the skills so they can do these things as adults).
I think something that goes a long way for a child (or any person really) is to stop what you are doing and give them attention when they talk to you. Sometimes, yes, we need to multitask. If we are making dinner, we probably will need to keep going so things don't burn and/or dinner is done on time. But if we are reading a book or on the computer and our child wants to talk to us, giving them eye contact and facing them with your body goes does a lot to communicate that they are important to you.
A great way to meet each child's need is to have one-on-one dates with the child. This is definitely more difficult to do as you have more children. We split it up so we end up going with each child six times a year (every other month) and each child goes on a date each month.
We have to write these on our calendar. At the beginning of the month, we sit down and put the date in the calendar. Pending an activity that we purchase tickets to, we can be flexible and move it if something comes up. We found that just saying, "sometime this month, I have a date with Brayden" didn't work. We have to plan it out. See one-on-one for more.
FIND SPECIAL TIME
Try to find special times that can be dedicated to you and your child. One example I have is when I do my girls' hair. I have them be in the bathroom with me and we do no electronic devices or anything else--it is just my daughter and me. I have found we have good conversations while I am doing her hair.
MAKE TIME DURING ERRANDS
I like to take turns bringing one child with me to run errands at times. This isn't always feasible; sometimes I need to bring all of the children. At times, however, I like to just take one. We can visit and just spend quantity time together.
MAKE TIME THROUGH CHORES
You can also get a lot of good time together through chores. You can fold laundry together, scrub floors together, and pull weeds together. Children find this time easy to talk because you aren't just staring them down--you are both focusing on something else and able to just talk.
WRITE NOTES/DRAW PICTURES
You can also let your child know you love her by doing special things like write a note or draw a picture. You can also do service acts like make her bed. Doing things like this help her know you think of her when she isn't around and they are great for those children who highly recognize acts of service as a show of love. You can put notes in backpacks and on pillows.
COVER LOVE LANGUAGES
Try to do things that cover the spectrum of love languages (acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, touch). Give hugs and kisses. Cuddle when you read stories at night. Tell your child what you like about her. Do small extra service acts. Spend time with her. Pick up a special treat for her when you are at the grocery store. See love language for more.
Always be prayerful that you will be equal to the task. Ask for guidance in fulfilling individual needs.
You can do it! You can meet the needs of your children. It isn't always easy. I think the more kids you have, the harder it is to make sure you as a mom also have YOU time. I think that is important and of course harder to come by with the more people you have relying on you. But children are "a heritage" and you can be equal to the task with effort and prayer!
Also, don't think a moment is only meaningful if you are alone with your child; you can have quantity time with multiple children at once, also.
What do you do to meet the needs of each of your children?
See Index: Siblings for all posts on sibling dynamics.