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How much individual time does each of my 3 boys need (4 months, 3 and 5)and how do I schedule the day to meet those needs and my own needs?


Julie Fisher Replied: This is a question left best to you!!! I really find in my coaching that the answers to these kinds of questions are already within, but something is stopping you from hearing the answer (likely that you're too busy or too tired to hear it). Of course, there is some logic involved with respect to the youngest, as he needs you when he needs you - and he will let you know. But all three need your love, your hugs, your kisses, time reading, time just cuddled up on the couch or in a favorite chair. AND, with 7 kids of my own, it's quite amazing how many of them you can fit on your lap all at one time if you don't mind a leg falling asleep! And yes, good question about your own needs, because as parents, we can tend to overlook those. I suggest that you take at least 5 minutes a day of complete quiet if that is AT ALL possible. The complete silence is a healer and it will go a long way towards the quality of time you spend with those 3 blessings of yours. I suggest starting with a piece of paper and a pen, looking at any time you're spending in ways that isn't necessary (like making beds that will simply be messed up again tonight) and I'd find ways to exchange time for you and time for your boys with items that may SEEM necessary, but simply are not. I stopped making beds after my 3rd child. I slowed my house cleaning cycle after the fourth. I taught my kids to help fold laundry so we could spend more time together. There are lots of ways to find small precious moments of time if we simply release our old beliefs about the way things HAVE to be and find new ways for them to be a whole lot more FUN! Love to you! Coach Julie
Posted On 2007-03-11 13:09:18
Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: How loving of you to even ask this question. It shows that you want to give each child what he needs. The fact that you have a 3 and 5 year old will ease some of your inner question about the 4-month-old. You see, the older siblings will entertain and give attention to the youngest. Believe it or not, most children will be temporarily satisfied with 15-minutes of uninterrupted time and one-on-one attention from you. So, in your busy day, if you can read aloud to each boy for 15-minutes or play a game for 15-minutes with the older ones, you'll find they have their need for attention fulfilled. Hope this helps a bit. There are free parenting articles that you might like on my site at
Posted On 2007-03-11 12:23:09
Trish Booth, MA Replied: It is good for parents to give their children individual time. And, it is helpful to have a schedule to give structure to your day. However, individual time with your children may end up being somewhat fluid. Babies don't need long periods of individual time. You can give individual time when you feed, bathe, and dress him and change his diaper. You do this with the play and loving interaction that is part of each task. You, however, may want some special, quiet time with him each day. Many mothers find that the feeding just before bedtime or early in the morning works best. About half an hour of individual time is fine for your 3 year old. You may be able to take this time when your baby is sleeping and your oldest is playing by himself or at a preschool program or in school. If not, you may need to coordinate this time when someone else can take care of the other two children. This is a time for creative play, a quiet activity like reading stories, or active play in the yard. Offer an activity that the two of you like to do or let him choose between two choices. In addition, there are those moments in the day when your son needs your help or your focused attention so he can tell you something. Finally, as part of daily activities, give him opportunities to be helpful. Doing things like fetching diapers or sorting laundry make him feel important and enhance his self-esteem. There may or may not be a time in the day when the other two children are napping that you use for individual time with your 5 year old. If your 3 year old has stopped napping, consider a mandatory quiet time when he plays quietly in his room for half an hour. Often, time just before bedtime works well as individual time for an older child. Spend half and hour or so talking about the day, making plans for tomorrow, working on a project, or reading a chapter in a book. This can be a time of physical closeness as well as undivided attention. In addition, you and your 5 year old may be able to do some household task together. That will give you time to talk while you work. Getting time for yourself is the hardest. You really need the help of your partner. Going to a class or the gym may make it easier to get away. Both of you are more likely to honor that commitment. In addition, you may be able to alternate who gets up with the children on Saturday morning. Swapping babysitting with another mother or taking advantage of care provided with a program are other possibilities.
Posted On 2007-02-25 17:21:55
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