My oldest child got a ton of one-on-one time with me. She was my only child, I was a stay-at-home mom, and her life was basically one long session of time with me.
And then my second child was born, and suddenly there was a lot of competition for my attention. Because my younger daughter napped more, I still had a lot of time with just my older child, but squeezing in time with just my second child has proved to be tricky.
I’m getting a little better at it as she gets older, though. Here are a few ways I’ve figured out how to make it work:
- Swap with a friend. Find a friend with a child around the age of your oldest and switch off weeks taking both of the older kids so you can spend a little time with just the second child.
- If you have an IKEA or gym that has childcare nearby, leave your older child there and spend 30 minutes with just your second child. Last week, my older daughter was dying to go to Smaland for the first time, so while she enjoyed herself, Ani and I played about 400 rounds of “All Around the Cobbler’s Bench” and “This Little Piggy.” It was so sweet to have her all to myself.
- Take one child on an errand with you and leave the other home with Dad. Whether my little one gets to stay home with Daddy or has my undivided attention in the Target cart, both my girls get a chance to have some one-on-one parent time.
- Stagger naptimes by about 15 minutes. Put your older child down first and spend 15 minutes with your second child before putting them down too.