How do I balance my attention between my kids?
Last Updated: 08/28/2017 at 3:30am
Brittany Kelley, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I am a psychodynamically trained clinical social worker. I find assisting women and families through difficult times an extremely rewarding and collaborative process.
Top Rated Answers
I will go at this one as if there are two children, and one is a big kid and the other is a baby. In general, try to stick to activities and routines with your child similar to those you did before your new baby arrived. Certainly, you won't be able to do everything you did before or do it as much. However, when you cannot, try not to "blame" the baby. A good example is not to say, "I can't because the baby needs…." Sometimes it will be unavoidable, of course. Your child will see that you are nursing or changing the baby and that is why you can’t at this particular moment. Tell your older child that they will get their turn with you soon. Do everything you and your partner can do to set aside at least half an hour a day (each) to spend alone with your older child, giving them your full attention. Your special time can be after day care, at the breakfast table, at bath time, or reading before bedtime, or as often as you can when your baby's napping. Use these special times to shower your big boy or girl with love and affection. Share care! Especially during the first weeks of your baby's life, try to get some help from others. A helping hand will not just lighten your own load, but also will make your older child's life more enjoyable. A supportive partner can make an enormous difference during the transition from one child to two. Ask and expect your partner to help more with the kids.
In my experience as a parent of three, I have a hard time balancing time between my kids. I try to schedule one on one time with them as often as possible. Also, when they all have a need at once, I kind of think of myself as the triage department. I have to decide whose needs are more important at that particular time and take care of that first, then move on to the next. I wish you the best parenting multiple children. It is a challenging but awesome job.
It's so important to have 1-on-1 time with each child. Maybe pick a night of the week for each child and that is there night to do an activity alone with you. To maintain the family feeling close as a whole, pick a "family night" as well and do a group activity with everyone once a week. If that doesn't work, family dinners are a great way to build closeness between families
Don't try and make it "equal" Your children have different needs at different times in their lives. For instance, my daughter has three little boys. Recently, a little quiz was given to children to see how they would answer and then was posted on facebook. One question, that her 4 yr. old answered, was, "What is mommy good at?" He answered, "Nursing Miles". He got that attention when he was an infant, giving him a solid foundation. Now his baby brother is getting it. But, he is now learning how to read, going ice skating with his dad, playing soccer. And guess who has to take him to all of these things. His parents. He is still getting attention, but a different kind. Sometimes, a special need requires special attention. I have a son with a learning disability and I homeschool my kids. I spent a disproportionate amount of time with him. Nobody cared. It just meant less of focus on school for them. Ha, ha.
Treat them equally at all times, when you are spending time with them make sure its all of them. Of cause at times some kids will want more attention then others in these times that particular kid will look for you for that attention.
Between your kids themselves? or Between your kids and other things? Think is a question you should really sit down and think about yourself. Using your intuition is the post powerful thing you can do with sensitive matters, we don't know your situation, only you do. and only you know the priorities.
Honestly it actually depends on age as well. Younger the more attention obviously is needed. However the older ones, interact as well. I know younger ones are always needed alot of attention that is natural. However older ones wants attention. Compromise with the older ones and say that... well...the younger ones need more attention honestly. However if they have soccer games or something like of. Make the effort to attend them. Family relationships are MOST important :) If there is that one who you feel you just cant find the time to be attentive with. Before sleeping or at night squeeze in and tuck them in to bed (EVEN if they are old :D ) Help them with their homework or something. Maybe set a day just to do something together. You can do it!
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