I had taken a Christian parenting class earlier in the summer and was really inspired to be a better parent that not only changes/corrects a child's actions but also their hearts. One of the topics that the class touched on was building strong relationships with our children and knowing their love languages. (The seminar was based on Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller's book and seminar series- Parenting is Heart Work; it's a great book with a lot of practical applications that I would recommend to all parents out there.)
While reviewing this topic with my husband, we realized that since we had 4 kids in about 4 years time, we never really got to spend too much one on one time with our kids, save maybe E1 since he had about 14 months as an only child before E2 and E3 joined us. Because of this, we felt that we didn't have a close enough relationship with each child as we would have liked. We want to have such close relationships with our children so that when they are older they will want to come home during the holidays, not out of obligation but because of the deep relationship we have built with them.
So in order to cultivate such deep relationships with our children we realized that we needed to allot times where we can spend with them one on one. We decided that each week we would set aside time where we would take one child out for some special one on one time. It would be their special day. We printed out calenders and listed out when it would be each child's special day, right now it is just for E1, E2, E3, as E4 is still so young and gets plenty of one on one time from nursing and such. We decided to start special days with E2 since based on her personality we felt that we "knew" her the least. So the rotation was E2, E3, and then E1.
With the calenders in hand, we explained this "special day" thing to triple E. During the first special day for E2, it was actually a little difficult for E1 who is a little older and felt some jealousy that he didn't get to go out. But we explained to him over and over again that he would get his turn and it started to get a little easier for him to accept.
And all this leads me to my special day with E2. I decided that I would take her to Barnes and Noble's children's section so we could read some books and then get some special treats at their Starbucks' cafe. Being that we almost never bring E2 & E3 out by themselves, E2 was a little curious as to why E1 and E3 weren't there with us. So I explained to her that this was her special time with mommy. I could tell she was really excited about this, since she kept walking around B&N saying "E2's special day! E2's special day!"
We spent about 30mins reading through some books in the kid's section and then went to the cafe to get a hot chocolate and a big chocolate chip cookie. There wasn't any deep conversations since she is only 3 but it was really nice to be able to give her my full attention. And I hope when she gets older, these will be times that we can have some deeper conversations. After about an hour of being out, it was time to go home but of course she was reluctant to. I reassured her that there would be more special days to come and she finally got in her car seat and we headed home. Overall a really good start to building deeper relationships with our kids.
Do you have "special days" in your family? Please share your experience with us, we would love to hear from you?