One-on-One Time with Your Kids is Beneficial to your Relationship

Shower them with attention to build a lifetime of closeness.

Did you know that one-on-one time with your child can benefit your relationship? The American Academy of Pediatrics considers play between a parent and child a vital link in a child’s ability to develop social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulatory skills. Play supports the creation of a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship, and accentuates abilities that build executive functioning and help your child form a pro-social brain.

Yet, how often do you find time in your busy schedule to stop and focus fully on your children? Parents are often with their children during morning hours when getting them ready for school, or evening hours when there are myriad chores to complete before the day’s end. That time? It doesn’t count.

When spending one-on-one time with your child, you must stop your other activities—put down the phone, leave the dishes—and focus on being with your child. All it takes is as little as 10 minutes daily to instill a sense of trust and send the message that your child is special. according to the Huffington Post.

“Even if we’re with our kids all day long, carving out focused, dedicated one-on-one time is an absolute game-changer,” toddler experts Deena Margolin, a licensed child therapist, and Kristin Gallant, a parent coach, added.

The benefits of one-on-one time
Spending one-on-one time with your children sends a powerful message that they are a priority in your life, despite your busy schedule, according to the blog Fathers. It doesn't have to be a fancy outing or activity; the gift of your time alone with them makes them feel valued, needed, secure, and empowered.

One-on-one time can also create a safe space for children to open up and share their thoughts and feelings. For example, an outing to a park or an ice cream store can engender kids to talk about what's going on in their lives. By being present and available, a parent can seize these opportunities to connect with their child and deepen their relationship.

Shared experiences like a trip to the grocery store or helping someone in need offer valuable teaching moments for both parent and child. By handling unexpected situations together, parents can model mature and graceful responses while also gaining insight into how their child approaches challenges.

Which parent?
According to the organization The First Five Years, both parents are crucial for a child's bonding and development. "A mother is incredibly important in a child’s development,” Collett Smart, a registered psychologist, educator and author of They’ll be Okay, told the organization. “We know that a mother’s touch, warmth and responsiveness all affect a child’s physical, psychological and social well-being.”

Research indicates that nurturing and emotional support from both parents can have a positive impact on a child's brain growth trajectory, emotional functioning, and social and academic development.

In his blog for Psychology Today, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Kyle D. Pruett, praises fathers’ involvement: “One-on-one time increases the father’s sensitivity to his child’s needs. Things like self-confidence, willingness to explore outside their comfort zone, coping, academic and social skills are all shown to be strengthened with [a father’s] engagement.”

Being with a child can help establish a strong foundation for future conversations. “Setting aside time to play with your child helps forge bonds and strong foundations for future conversations on the bigger topics. This one-on-one focused time communicates to a child that they matter to you,” Smart told The First Five Years.

What’s the bottom line?
If you have more than one child, juggling your schedule to offer each of them one-on-one time might seem slightly more difficult. As Pruett explains in his blog, spending individual time with each of your children helps maintain a healthy and attuned relationship with them as individuals.

It's essential to remember that this one-on-one time doesn't have to revolve around tasks to be effective. In fact, downtime or relaxation is often more beneficial. Children are typically more adept at unwinding than adults, and it's crucial to be present with them without any distractions, allowing unstructured one-on-one time to work its magic on both you and your child. Try it! This is a winning proposition.

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