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DAD.info | Fatherhood | Being Dad | One on one time with children- the benefits

One on one time with children- the benefits

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

When it comes to building a deeper bond, you can’t beat one on one time with children. There are a number of great benefits not only for your relationship but also for your child’s wellbeing and confidence.

What is one on one time?

One on one time is time devoted to the two of you being together, without others around. It’s different from normal spent time together in that you let your child take the lead with what you’ll do and talk about. It’s about connecting with your child on their level and in things that interest them.

What are the benefits of one on one time?

It can often seem like every day is a mad rush from school run to work, dinner and then bed time- what one on one time gives you is designated time away from that to be together. Amidst the busy day your child will come to know that they can rely on special time for you no matter what.

Even 10 minutes a day rewards kids with the belief that they are worthy of undivided attention, and builds their self-confidence as a result. It also shows your child that you’re interested in their world and in connecting with them through it.

How to do one on one time

Quantity over quality

15 minutes of concentrated time with your child is better than a whole afternoon of time because over longer spans of time our attentions naturally wane. During one on one time leave your phone out of the way and make sure the tv is off.

Choose the time to suit your child

You know your child better than anyone- would they respond better to time with you in the morning, or when they are chilling out at night? You might also want to switch it up depending on what’s going on at the time- if, for example, your son wants to practice shooting hoops with you then your 15 minutes could be spent together concentrating on that. If there have been problems at school your child might prefer some quiet time with you in their room chatting about their day.

Keep it informal

You don’t need to choose a specific special activity to do together during one on one time. It’s actually better if you can join in with what your child is already doing, or ask them to show you what they’ve been up to. Whatever it is, be ready and willing to join in- it could be play dough or brushing a doll’s hair! Older kids might like to get a coffee with you or show you what they’ve been doing in their hobby. While engaging in their world, let them chat freely and talk to them about what you’re doing together. Be led by them in the activity and do what they’d like you to do.

Avoid pressure or learning

This time together is a relaxing space where you enter your child’s world. Even though it may be tempting, avoid asking questions to check their knowledge or understanding, like ‘what colour is that?’. Approach one on one time as you joining your child on their level.

Unstructured play is best

Aim to take part in normal, every day activities together such as:

  • books
  • puzzles
  • arts and crafts
  • Lego
  • toy cars
  • dolls
  • dressing up
  • painting nails
  • sand play
  • ball games
  • going to the park.

Schedule longer time each week

15 minutes is great for week days, but when time allows aim to spend a full hour with your child on what they’d like to do.

If you have more than one child

Aim to organise for one child to be busy while you have time with the other child, and then swap.

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