Some of us are raising a large family. We acknowledge that it is of vital importance to spend time with each individual member of that large family one on one, but this can be sometimes seem an impossible task.
Weekends are filled with a myriad of things which need to be done especially if both parents work outside of the home. There are chores to be done both inside and outside of the home. Then there is the weekly grocery shopping and on top of that at least one child has a sporting event of one kind or another. How in the world can you slot in one on one time with that type of scenario?
Here is one possible suggestion:
Allow the majority of children to stay home with your partner and tend to the normal necessary weekend chores. These can be assigned according to age and ability.
Then, in turns, take one child to do the shopping with you. Give them a minuscule amount of money (maybe two or three dollars) to spend as they wish. The amount is not important as long as it is small. While they help with the shopping they are free to choose the item/s they would like to purchase.
It’s fun to watch them trying to choose the one thing they would like for that amount of money. Many times they will struggle to choose but will eventually settle for something. You may be surprised at how ingenious they are – some will have to spend it all even if they have to settle for something they don’t want, others will squirrel away some of the money because their eyes are on a higher prize, some want quantity only and will buy anything as long as it is cheap, some will want a toy and others only want lollies (candy). Some may even try to negotiate for more money but in this case the suggestion is that you hold firm.
With the shopping trip finally completed it might be a good idea to take home a lunch time treat. While the other children weren’t out shopping with you they have all been working so a treat is in order for all. It is also a great way to relax together after all that work. Only the one out shopping with you gets that small amount of extra money though.
What is the purpose of this exercise:
1. The people at home learn the importance of working together to achieve a common goal. They also begin to understand the need to respect and look after the things we have. They might learn patience as they wait for their turn on the shopping roster also.
2. One by one the children who shop week by week learn the value of budgeting. They understand that the small amount of money they have is all that they have for today. Not a bad life skill to acquire while they are young! They also begin to realize that even though yours is a busy lifestyle there will always be time for them.
Over lunch together might I also suggest that if you had an enjoyable morning together you thank your willing helper for spending the time with you and for being a fun companion. Also thank the children who stayed home for doing such a great job. Come to think of it it might not be such a bad idea to thank your partner later also! This simple little thing will build into the kids a sense of worth and don’t we all need that?