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How to Give Your Kids Equal Attention

Get tips on making sure you give equal time to your children.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend,
Episode #120

Hey there! You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting.

This week, we are answering a listener question.

“Hi. My name is Bonnie from Chicago and I was calling because I have a 2 ½ year old and a 1 year old and my concerns are that I’m not giving as much attention to my 1 year old as I did to my 2 ½ year old when she was smaller. How do I give them both the attention they deserve when they are both hanging off of me at the same time? I want to give them everything that they need and deserve but sometimes I feel that it’s not equal.“

Bonnie, thank you for calling. Your situation is very common and many parents often wonder how make sure that both of their children are receiving their fair share of Mommy and Daddy time. Before I share some suggestions, I need to share this word from our sponsor.

The Struggle of Sharing Time

I’ve probably mentioned this at least once before on a previous episode, but it’s worth repeating. When my son was born, my daughter was almost 2 and was not happy about having a little brother at all. My kids are a little further apart in age than Bonnie’s, but I’m absolutely familiar with the struggle of sharing my time between both of my children. When a new baby joins the family it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll have the exact amount of time to share with each child. Babies require plenty of attention: nurturing, feeding, and providing security. Your older child may feel as though he is being left behind. In the beginning, you can invite your older child to help you with the baby. If he is open to the idea, that will help to get him involved. You could ask your older sibling to gently tickle the baby’s feet while you are feeding the baby. That will help keep the baby awake to eat and entertain your older child at the same time. Another simple idea is to have your older child help bring blankets or entertain the baby with toys. Keep in mind that you should ask your child if he wants to help. If this isn’t something he’s interested in, he shouldn’t be forced into it. That could cause resentment. If he doesn’t show any interest in your ideas, you could ask him what he would like to do to help with the baby and hopefully, he’ll offer some ideas that will make everyone happy.

Create One-On-One Time

Though spending time with your children together is a wonderful way for everyone to bond, it’s also important to invest in some one-on-one time with each child. Whether you have 2, 3, or more children, that can often be a challenge. Even if you aren’t spending the exact amount of time with each child, at least ensure that you are spending some quality time with everyone. Kids don’t ask for much. They just want your attention. Take some time to read a story, color a picture, or just sing a few rounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s always nice when you have two children napping at the same time, but by slightly staggering naps, you can give each child some time while the other is resting. If you have assistance, you can also plan special one-on-one dates with your children. My son loves the time he gets in the morning while my daughter is at school. Sometimes we just play together and sometimes we’ll go out on a breakfast date. My daughter is a little bit older and loves going shopping alone with Mommy. When my son can stay home with my husband, my daughter and I can get out and do something fun together. Recently my husband took my daughter to see a movie. It was a great time for them to do something alone together while my son and I had our time.

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