This idea is for families with multiple children. I didn’t invent the idea but can’t remember how I learned of it. The premise is that each child should have some activity that is special and unique with each parent. I’ll speak from the father’s perspective but it works in parallel with the mother. It’s also possible/likely that the special activity will change once or twice as the child ages.
I’ve discovered a couple of things that are important to consider while putting this into place:
- Special – The word “special” doesn’t mean extravagant or unusual. Rather, it means that because you and your child do it together it becomes something special to the two of you. Imagine your child saying in their adolescent or adult years, “Remember when we used to _____ together? That was special to me.” It just needs to be something your child is at least moderately interested in and probably not something they already do themselves on a regular basis (every day, every week).
- Examples of special activities I had with my girls at different stages are skipping rocks on a lake or pond, hiking, riding roller coasters, and eating sushi. But think about other ideas like watching western movies, working in the garden, building sand castles or flying a kite. The possibilities are almost endless.
- Unique – This doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t engage in the same activity with your other children but just realize that the more you do that the less special it is with your target child. So you want to be careful about that. It is best when your other children have little or no interest in the special activity you’re developing with your target child. Using my examples, only one of my daughters was even willing to eat sushi. So that made it easy. Same thing for riding roller coasters.
After reading this, you will probably realize that you already have some special activities between you and each of your children. Embrace them, think about proactively engaging in them on a periodic basis, and look forward to future “remember when” reflections.
See my other blog posts on parenting here.