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There is truly nothing like playing with your children.  Did you know that the average parent spends less than 20 minutes a day playing with their children?    I’d like to challenge you to beat that average.    Can you spend at least 20 minutes a day playing with your child… just you and that child?   What about 20 minutes several times a day?     

As the saying goes… Children spell “love”… T.I.M.E. 

 The best part about playing with your children is that you can truly learn from them.

A woman holding a baby

Play With Your Child For 20 Minutes A Day 

You learn more in a 20-minute play session with your child than you could at any other time.  It’s great.  You can teach them so many things, but most of all, you teach them how much you love them.  I love to watch our kids shine when they feel confident.

Remember… playing with your child is not the same as watching them play. 

“Children Don’t Need To Be Entertained 24/7, But You Should Include Them

Children, even babies, love to be involved with the day-to-day family activities. It’s not always convenient for the parents, but if you can afford a little time and patience, it will give them some of that feeling-loved-and-included quota. Let them do the stuff around the house with you. Dishes, laundry, wiping, vacuuming, etc. Sometimes you don’t have the patience for it, or it’s not always at an appropriate time, but see where you can fit it in.

We give our children attention all day long when they need things, but being ‘present’ is different. It means you really connect with them. See the difference and do your best to be ‘present’ with them while doing playtime.” – HuffPost. 

playing doesn't have to be a huge event... just PLAY.

Look For Signs That They Need 1-on-1 Time

It can be obvious when we know what to watch for… how to tell that our kids need more time with us.   Start with these 5 signs that tell you that your child needs more time with you. 


Put Your Phone Away

Turn off distractions.  This survey showed how much our distractions are hurting our kids.   This means putting away your phone, turning the TV off, not thinking about what you need to do next.   Honestly, our kids need us to listen.   This means we should stop doing whatever else we are doing – like cleaning or cooking, while we are having our 20-minute session.  This is hard for me, as I am a multitasker, but our children are more important than these things.  Everything can wait 20 minutes while you are building a bond with your child. 🙂

It’s Ok To Set A Timer 

Last summer, we implemented a “nightly 1-on-1 time”.  We have four kids, so it’s hard fo reach of them to have alone time with each of us.
We started by doing 20 minutes of “Time with Mom” and “Time with Dad” every night.   We set a timer with each child. 
With four kids, that was over an hour a night.  It usually meant something like 80 minutes on the swingset, or 80 minutes taking walks.   The kids picked what we did… and the other kids stayed away while we had our time.  

My husband would go first & I’d stay inside with the three other kids while he and one child went off to spend 20 minutes playing (usually outside).   After 80 minutes (20 minutes with each child), it was my turn with each of the kids, so Mickey and I would switch roles.  I’d go outside and he’d come inside.    The person inside was doing the norman things: cooking, cleaning, hanging out with the kids, etc… while the outside person was there just to play with one child.  🙂 

The kids LOVED it!   It was their favorite part of the summer.   Crazy to think about that, but I think it’s because we have a big family and we are always together.  Yes, we spend 5 minutes here & there with each child, but it is rare that each child had 20 minutes alone with each of us, every single day.   When we made it a point to do this, they all felt ADORED.   

Hug Them… OFTEN

Don’t forget to hug your kids.  This study proves that kids need hugged every day for a certain amount of time.    The benefits are HUGE!   



Ps- if your kids are older, you can grab our teenager calendar: 1-on-1 time with your teen. sample printable calendar of 30 days of one on one time

More posts you might like:

Understanding the difference between PLAYING and WATCHING THEM PLAY. … and why it matters. 
Mom and her young daughter are laughing and hugging one another.

A Dutch Mother Explains How Dutch Parents Make their Children More Independent 
Why Dutch Children are more independent

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. Great inspiration. I will do the 1 on 1 time for my two children.
    Fantastic strategy.

    Love it.

    Thanks Becky.