Parenthood is difficult. These little monsters didn’t come with an instruction manual and if they did, it isn’t written in any language I am able to understand. One of my biggest challenges is making sure that all 3 of my monsters receive equal love and attention. It sounds easy… In reality, it isn’t. I’m going to share with you a few of the tricks I’ve learned along the way and some things I’ve done with my monsters that may help you.
- Know Your Monsters: Every child is different. They have their own wants and needs. There is no cookie cutter approach. They are mini-people who, like you and I, need to feel loved in their own way. As parents, we must understand who they are. What do they like? What don’t they like? What makes them happy? My daughter is happy when we do girly things like paint her nails or I let her do my hair (Tylenol required for my sensitive head). My oldest son is happy when we sit on the couch together and watch TV. My baby, he is happy as long as he is fed, has a clean diaper, and has something to chew on. The point is that what works for one will not work for all. I recommend reading The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively.
- Develop a Routine: When does your child need your attention the most? Do they need cuddle time in the morning or at night? Figure out when they need the most attention and plan special mommy or daddy time around it. For example: My daughter is the most needy in the morning when she is getting ready for school. She needs help with her uniform, doing her hair, and she likes to be with me when I’m getting ready. My oldest son, on the other hand, needs more one-on-one time at night. He has ADHD and is on the Autism Spectrum. I know that he will need the most attention after a long day at school where he has been overloaded with sensory input.
- Bed Time: Bed time is a chance for individual attention for each child. This is also part of developing a routine. Bed time could include reading a story (one-on-one or as a family), singing a song, or recapping the day. My daughter prefers to read a story or sing 100 songs. My son prefers to go over his entire day, start to finish. Find something that works for you and your child.
- Mommy/Daddy Dates: This is a really special time to shower your little monster with extra attention. A mommy/daddy date is when mommy or daddy or both mommy and daddy, take the little monster out somewhere for something special. It could be a special lunch, a movie, playing in the park (FREE!), trip to get ice cream or fro-yo, or whatever your monster likes. I try to save these for extra special times.
- Pizza and a Movie Night: This one is more of a family event but it still works! Every Friday in our house is pizza and a movie night. There are different ways you could do this depending on your budget. The movie: Go to the movie theater, get a rental from Red Box, search for free movies through your cable provider, Netflix, buy a movie at the store, the list goes on and on. The pizza: Go out to eat, stay home and order a pizza to be delivered, make your own, or buy a pizza from the store and heat it up at home. There are lots of possibilities! My two oldest monsters alternate in picking out the movie. The greatest thing… After a long week at work, adulting, momming, and running around like a crazy person, our Friday nights are reserved for family time and unwinding.
Now I’m not saying you should ignore your monsters throughout the day and only give them attention during these times. We get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our lives that it’s easy to go all day without taking the time to stop and enjoy being around each other.
There are many different things you could do to spread the love amongst your monsters. I hope these few things will help you in some way! Drop a comment below and let us know what you do. We would love to hear from you!