How can you make each child feel important? Devote time to JUST THAT CHILD! It really is just that easy- spend time listening to your child and talking with your child… say yes when they ask you to lie down with them when you tuck them… all of those little things add up to a loved child.
My husband and I have four children, each two years apart.
Spending one on one time with each of the can be challenging because they each want our attention all of the time. I was talking about this with my dear friend, Kristy, and she told me a wonderful idea that we have since adopted and we now use every month:
Every month on our child’s ‘birth date”, they get to have “their night” (example: our first son was born on August 29th, so every month on the 29th is his night. Our second son was born on April 18th, so the 18th of every month is his night).
On their night, they get to stay up about 20-30 minutes later than normal and can pick to do whatever they want with us, but it can not be watching TV or playing on the computer (no electronics). We can play a board game, read a book, go on a walk, the kids help my husband change the oil in his car, or even bake quick 3-ingredient cookies.
All of this is time that is focused on this ONE child.
When we are finished and it is time for them to go to bed, we have them sit with us.
We tell them two specific things (two from each of us) that we love about them (example: “I love how you are so funny and smile all of the time! I love how you are so sweet to your little sister and make her laugh when she starts to cry.”) We each do this, each listing at least two things that we cherish about him. Afterward, my husband and I hold our child’s hands and we say a pray for that child, out loud for them to hear…
“Thank you, God, for _(child’s name)____. Please watch over him and take care of him tonight and tomorrow. Let him have a wonderful day at school tomorrow! Let him know how much you love him and let him share your love with others through his great smile and kind words. He is smart and funny and made in your Glory and we are grateful for him every day!”
Finally, we lie down with him, when we tuck them into bed at night. (Any time that you get to cuddle with your kids is a good time.)
Now, I won’t say that our other kids aren’t a little jealous of the “birthday” child during this time. They, too, want it to be their ‘special night”, but to resolve this, we let our other kids read books in their beds (quietly) until the other ones are going to bed. They get to stay up late, too, so they are happy. Our kids go to bed at 7:00 on most nights, so staying up until 7:20 is really no big deal.
To make sure that I remember to do this, I have a monthly reminder set in my phone, so every 29th, it goes off at 5:00pm to say “Jack stays up”. Every 18th, it says “Beau stays up tonight!”. Every 25th, “Ethan stays up!” and every 7th “Allie stays up!” I also write it big on our calendar so that they can see it & be excited themselves! (They LOVE to watch the calendar to see how it slowly comes to their day).
Just use this time to get to know your child even better. Snuggle with them and learn from them. Talk to them and enjoy them… have fun!
Any time that you can give a child your undivided attention, you are making a lasting impression in their hearts. A memory to last a lifetime…
“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
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