Monday, May 6, 2013

Meeting Needs of Each Child

This post may contain affiliate links.
A big concern parents have as they add children to their family is "how will I give my children all the time they need?" I know a lot of people consider finances in determining family size--that isn't something I ever think about. I have full faith that the Lord will help supply our needs. The consideration I really have is "how many children can we support emotionally?" Sometimes, this might determine the number of kids, and sometimes the age spacing.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.


wonder wilks said...

Thank you for posting this! I had four little ones in 2.5 years {the oldest is 4 now & the youngest almost 2} which has left me feeling a tad overwhelmed, especially with the emotional support each needs {which only seems to be increasing as they grow older}.

I love that you pointed out that it doesn't always have to be some big outing around just that child but taking the everyday opportunities of everyday life like doing your girl's hair.

And sometimes, it's just nice to hear someone say... you can do it! It's not impossible! There is a way!
Sigh, this article was just what I needed to read today. Thanks you ever so much! Sarah

wonder wilks said...

just a quick question... I know it is always much nicer to take the proactive discipline approach of give each child the attention they need so they don't feel the need to act out as much. I know when any of my littles is having a particularly difficult day, it can sometimes be linked to not getting enough one-on-one attention with me.
But how do you deal with multiple discipline issues going on at the same time? There are different times where all four of my kids will melt down or tantrum & need some form of correction or attention form me but it can all feel like an overwhelming avalanche of need all at the same time.
My goal in discipline or training is always to give them my full attention at that moment but with all four acting out at the same time I am never very sure what to do & then things snowball until it's happening all the time. These meltdowns often have to do with jealousy between the four for mummy {which we never experienced when introducing a new baby... just recently as the youngest has become jealous of the older ones - spending time with just the youngest only seems to make the jealousy worse}. Do you have any tips or tricks on deal with attention jealous, especially when it's the youngest towards the oldest?

Rachel Norman said...

Love the question "how many children can I support emotionally?" GREAT CONCEPT

J Isaac said...

So good to put this out there! Every family needs to consider this topic early on. Thanks so much for the ideas on investing in our kids' emotionally. - Jessica

Valerie Plowman said...

Wonder Wiks,

As for when all four are melting down, it is definitely okay for you to send a child (or all of them) to their room or to another spot to sit and wait for you to come deal with the issue. Sometimes it is good for the child to have to wait for a bit after they have done something wrong. It gives them a chance to realize what they did was wrong.

Jealousy...I really haven't had that issue. I will ask on the Facebook page now for tips on dealing with jealous siblings.

Valerie Plowman said...

Thanks Rachel. I had a religion teacher pose that question before i was ever married and it has always stuck with me.

Valerie Plowman said...

You are welcome Jessica!

Valerie Plowman said...

Wonder Wiks, it is on Facebook. Hopefully you get some good input!

wonder wilks said...

thanks so much! i really appreciate it!
and i will absolutely use your idea about sending them to their rooms when they all simultaneously melt down. i don't know why i hadn't thought of that before. brilliant! thanks again!

Unknown said...

Hi Val! This particular post really struck a chord with me. Having just added a second child to my family, I really needed these words. It is hard! But I can do it! Thanks!

Valerie Plowman said...

wonder wiks, I remember reading in a book once (can't remember which now)that it is okay for you to take a moment before discipline. I thought about it and realized if you promise your child ice cream after dinner, your child doesn't forget, even if you do so early in the morning. So a child is smart enough to be put in their room for a cooling off period before the consequence is given.

The author even commented that sometimes waiting for the consequence is more difficult for the child than the actual consequence.

Valerie Plowman said...

You are welcome unknown!


Related Posts with Thumbnails