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How can you make each child feel important? Have one-on-one time with your kids. Devote time to JUST THAT CHILD! While this post was written years ago, it holds true today. I still work on this and know how important it is. Whether you are parenting a toddler or trying to connect with your teenager, this works.

It really is just that easy—spend time listening to and talking with your child… saying yes when they ask you to lie down with them when you tuck them in. These moments of individual time all add up to a very loved child.

♡ Update: Since sharing this idea (shared below), I have received so many wonderful emails about how this tradition is now working in their family to help their children feel important, special, and loved. Many parents and grandparents have adopted this tradition with their nuclear family and extended family and are seeing huge benefits.♡

make each child feel important

My husband and I have four children, each two years apart.  No matter how old our children become, the time with them is so important and cannot be forgotten, missed, or put on hold.

From the early years with young children to later years of parenting a teenager, every year is as important as the year before.  The parent/child relationship is a bond that lasts for a lifetime.

One day, before you know it, this child will become your best friend.  Your child will be kind and loving, have good social skills, and be respectful.  You will see confidence in your child because of the time you took to be with them, learn about them, talk to them, and love them.

These moments of one-on-one time are when our children build trust in our relationship. Children learn how much they are loved when they have individual time with each of their family members.

No matter which parenting style you use in your family life, no matter how parents rear their children or work with their children, we’ve heard this works wonders.   

It’s the simple act of individual time to show your child you care. 

A group of people that are standing in the grass holding hands.

How Do You Find Time for One-on-One Time?

Spending one-on-one time with each of them can be challenging because they each want our attention all of the time.

I was talking about this with my dear friend Kristy, an early childhood expert and a child development therapist. She told me about a wonderful parenting idea that we have since adopted and use every month. It is essential to make every child important.

Our One-on-One Time Tradition: “Your Special Night”


1). EVERY MONTH, on our child’s ‘birth date,” they get to have what we call “YOUR SPECIAL NIGHT.

What does this look like?

It means that every month, each child will get one night that is just theirs. It is special because it’s their night with us, with no one else around. For about half an hour, we do something fun and out of the ordinary, and we focus 100% of our attention on that child.

Can you share an example?

Since one of our sons was born on August 29th. Each month, on the 29th, it is his special night.
Another of our sons was born on April 18th, so it is his special night every month on the 18th.
And so on…

What do you do on the Special Night? How long does it last?

On their “Special Night,” they get to stay up about 20-30 minutes later than normal. The other kids go to their room to go to bed or to read a book, but the “birthday child” stays up to do something fun with Mom and Dad.

The child picks the activity. Here are some ideas…

You are welcome to use this printable list of one-on-one time activities, too.

Do Electronics Count As An ‘Activity’?

We do not allow electronics because we can’t talk. This is their chance to really talk to us, communicate, laugh, and tell us anything – and we give them our attention.

If the TV is on or a game is on, our attention is focused on the screen instead of each other. For that reason, it can not be watching TV or playing on the computer (no electronics). When electronics are on, it can feel like your attention is divided, just like if you were with a group of people instead of just your child.


We End with Words of Affirmation & Prayer

When it is time for bed, after our special night has ended, we take a few minutes to speak words of affirmation over our child.

Each Parent Says Gives Two Compliments

We tell them two specific things (two from each of us) that we love about them.

Examples of things we might say:

  • “I love how you are so funny and smile all of the time!”
  • “I love how you are so sweet to your little sister!”
  • ” I love how you try to make people laugh if they are feeling sad.”
  • “You always do your chores without complaining.”

We each do this, each listing at least two things that we cherish about him. 

We Say A Prayer Together

Afterward, Mickey and I hold that child’s hands while we say a prayer together. You could use this printable prayer hand. We say the prayer 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 tomorrow! Let him know how much You love him and let him share Your love with others through his gratitude, smile, patience, and kind words.  Thank you for this child – he is smart, funny, and made in your Glory. We are grateful that he is our son & we love that we get to love him every day!”

Tuck Them In

Finally, we lie down with him when we tuck them into bed at night.   This is something that we do with each child every single night.

Any time you get to cuddle with your kids is a good time.


Are the other kids jealous?

They are probably a little bit envious, even though their turn is just around the bend. They’ve never come right out & said it, but they do try to interrupt for this reason or that reason. They know that this isn’t allowed.

It’s understandable, as everyone loves their ‘special night’ and wants it to be their turn. To resolve this, we let our other kids read books in their beds (quietly) until the other ones are going to bed.  

This is instead of going right to sleep, and it only happens when they are old enough to handle staying up 30 minutes later. When our kids were younger, they went to bed at 7:00 most nights, so staying up until 7:30 wasn’t a big deal. Even now, the difference between 8:30 and 9:00 or 9:00 and 9:30 isn’t much.

What if the siblings interrupt?

If a child does interrupt (and they are old enough to understand), they lose minutes from their own special night.

If they interrupt for five minutes, they lose five minutes on their night. If you stick to this rule one time, they won’t do it again.

Set a Reminder

The odds of your child forgetting about their special night are slim, but just in case, we write their name in big letters on our calendar. They LOVE to watch the calendar to see how it slowly comes to their day. I also have a reminder set that alerts me each month.

Every month on the 25th, around noon, I hear a reminder that says, “Ethan stays up tonight for his special night!”

What NOT to do during one-on-one time:

There are a few things that you should not do during one on one time. While this post gives you a detailed list, it is important to remove (put away) distractions. This allows you to be present with your child in all ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Why Have Special Nights for One on One Time?

We do this because finding uninterrupted time with our children during the day can be hard. This guarantees that your child will have this time with you.

Use this time to get to know your child even better.  Snuggle with them, talk to them, learn from them, enjoy their company, and have fun! The more you get to know your child through conversations and following their lead, the closer you will become. This is your chance to let them know how much you cherish them as individuals & how much you cherish your time with them.

Looking back on our family (and the family history that we are creating), we have seen just how amazing it is when you have close relationships with your children. 


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.” ~Catherine Wallace


Here is a free calendar to use for One-on- One time ideas:

A close up of a calendar on a white background.

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. I am so excited about this! I have been thinking about doing this and these are great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  2. What a lovely idea. We also use clearing up after dinner time as a bit of one on one time. One child helps washing up (er, ok perhaps ‘help’ isn’t the right word..) but it’s a great way to talk to them or just spend some time with them. They get to take the rubbish out and go up to bath a bit later so they feel special! (Who said treats were expensive!)

    1. 🙂 I agree- any one on one time is good… no matter what you are doing!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this idea!! 😀 We too have four children, and right now, I have set aside 1 hour every Monday and rotate through the children (1st Monday of the month goes to the oldest, 2nd Monday of the month goes to the 2nd born, and so forth). But there is something very sweet and special about this. I especially LOVE the idea about telling them two things you love about them and then praying a special prayer just for them. I am going to incorporate that into my Monday’s. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Thank you! We have one coming up tomorrow night. 🙂
      Enjoy your Mondays!

  4. I have 6 children, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, and 2. Finding one on one time is extremely difficult. This is a great idea. We do something similar. We have a VIP night every other weekend, which could be any night on the weekend that everyone is home, no birthday parties or sleepovers. One child every other weekend gets to choose the VIP supper. They can help prepare it too. Then during the meal we go around the table and each person at the table says what we love about the VIP child. The children LOVE it! For the weekends in between the VIP suppers we also rotate going out for breakfast. One parent takes one child out for breakfast. My husband and I take turns so the children get alone time with each of us. We use coupons and breakfast for 2 usually costs around $10. We have these times wrote on our family wall calender so the children can check and know when their special days are!

    1. I am going to start that this week- and I’ll blog about it because that is just the most fantastic idea so I can’t wait to share your tip!!! Love it!

  5. I recently implemented something a little similar. I only have 2 kids, 1 on the way, but we homeschool so a lot of our time is spent together, all of us. I decided to begin a mummy-child movie night (yep screen time haha, we don’t actually watch much otherwise). First Saturday of every month is Mummy-Monster night, second saturday is Mummy-Wench night and then third Saturday is all of us having a movie night together – we watched Wizard of Oz last month, they loved it!

    But I really like the idea of a simple half hour doing something else, more quality, and the idea of their birth date is fantastic! I might try this as well once my first trimester fatigue is gone 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for this quick post. Been thinking for months of ways to make our daughter, 7 years old, feel just as special as the baby. This works out great. Plus she would love being able to have one day she picks the activity at night. Thanks!

  7. Love the special night idea! The weirdest thing was your examples. My first kiddo was born august 29 and second was born April 18. What are the odds?!

    1. No way!!!! haha! Oh- another coincidence- your name is Allison (our daughter is Allie.) 😉

  8. What a cute idea ! Would love to try it even though our 4 kids are much older.

    How to handle that dd 14 and ds 11 share the same day 8th ( Jan and May ) ? LOL

    1. Hmm… I would have them each pick a new day that will be their number. 🙂

  9. I love this idea! Not sure what to do with the two of my kids that both share the 29th as their day though… Any good suggestions to keep that ‘fair’?

    1. I think that I would just pick different days for both of them. Maybe the 1st & the 10th or something like that?

      1. A different day for both is a good suggestion so no one feels especially favored. I’m looking forward to implementing this into our lives in the new year!

  10. This is a great idea. We have 5 boys and struggle to spend one on one time with them. However 3 of my boys are born on the 4th of different months. So it goes the 4th, 20th, 4th, 4th, & then the 14th. Any ideas how to do this for our family?

  11. These are such great ideas! I love the special day every month idea. My kids would eat that up. 🙂

  12. I love your article! I have 2 grown kids and they have said numerous times that they loved their one on one time as young kids and they still love it! My son is 31 and married and my daughter is 25 but every year, I take each of them individually away for a couple of days. I find out what is happening with them and they catch up on what is happening with me. We live near each other and we spend the remainder of the year near each other as a family. The one on one time gives all of us a little break from our busy lives. So, my advice is this…. Don’t ever stop offering the one on one time. That time and those memories can never be replaced.

  13. I’ve been trying to figure out a routine of some sort to have one on one time with my 4 kids (because if it isn’t a routine it pretty much gets forgotten ;o). I hadn’t thought of picking a monthly date! The birth dates won’t work (we have a Nov. 28th/Dec.28th and a Jan.2nd/May 2nd) and my husband works nights so not sure about the staying up late, but certainly an idea that maybe a I can give some thought and tweak a bit! Thanks!

  14. Thanks for this idea ! I only have two boys but being a working mum out everyday and my Husband being self employed and working weird hours I wanted to find a way to spend time one to one with them . Thank you 👍👍