A certain four-year-old cherub with big and volatile emotions seems to be having the most difficult reaction to the new baby, to not being the center of attention. I decided to take her on a Mommy-Daughter (and Newborn) Date today, making it the third time I'd gone out of the house since having Joseph. We went to lunch at Chik-Fil-A and shopping for some baby supplies at BuyBuy Baby. I hope that the one-on-one time and giving her opportunity to chatter at me for two hours has good effect. Look at how thrilled she was (above photo)!
This is a reminder to me that it is increasingly hard to give each child individual attention. Obviously we don't fall in the camp of thinking children need so much individual attention that a family should limit themselves to having one or two children (a common belief these days), but I do see that children enjoy basking in attention. Chris is able to have special outings with individual children throughout the week because he can do errands on his own and is very thoughtful about always taking a child with him. But the mama is going to tend to be the one at home with the children, so when I go on errands, it is very often with all the children. I can't just leave children at home with Chris during his work day so I can take one child with me as a special treat, of course. Therefore, I'm seeking for how I can give some individual attention from within the confines of the home. Any ideas, fellow mothers?
One tactic I plan to implement as soon as I'm the one cooking my own dinners again is having a Dinner Helper each night, with John and Mary alternating nights: one is the Dinner Helper, the other is assigned to Playing With Margaret. I've already done it twice and it worked beautifully, keeping the big kids apart and unable to fight, keeping the toddler out of my hair, and letting me have one-on-one time with a big kid.
I've heard of some mothers who take an evening walk each night and rotate taking one child with them every evening. Of course, that means I'd have to exercise . . .
What are some other ideas (inexpensive or free and easy to implement) to have one-on-one time with each child without having to do extra special outings (like lunch at a restaurant) every time?