Benefits of One-On-One Time
If you have more than one child, sometimes you still need to go one-on-one. I often challenge dads to commit to that “alone” time with each of their children. Here are three powerful reasons:
1. One-on-one time lets kids know they are very important. Your kids know your calendar is jammed, and they also know how you choose to spend your free time. If you carve out regular time with them—just the two of you—that makes a big statement, and tells them they are a priority to you.
I encourage you to be creative and plan cool outings. But it almost doesn’t matter what you do; your gift of time makes your child feel valued, needed, secure, even empowered.
2. Kids open up during that time. Derek is a dad I know who has teenagers, and he confesses things can get a little bit tense from time to time. Usually it’s just minor stuff around the house and personality clashes.
But Derek says it quickly changes when he’s out on one of their runs for ice cream or iced coffee. They get in the car and almost right away his child will start talking about something going on in his life. He knows that it’s dad time, and it’s like he’s been saving up topics or questions. He opens up in unexpected ways. Dad, don’t miss those priceless opportunities.
3. Things happen when you’re doing something together. Maybe the car breaks down, or you get pulled over for speeding. Maybe someone you see needs help. Or maybe you see friends and have a short conversation. In all those situations, you are modeling for your child how to respond with maturity and grace.
Or maybe you’ll run into some kids from their school while you’re out, and you can ask, “So you know them pretty well?” “Where do you see them at school?” And so on. And like I said, he’s probably more willing to open up. All kinds of interesting things can happen when you and your child are together somewhere.
Dad, take full advantage of frequent one-on-one adventures. Just go get a frozen yogurt, take a long walk, visit a bookstore or do any activity your child enjoys. But it’s up to you to make sure it happens. Schedule it; be intentional. Don’t let the busy-ness of life crowd out special time with your son or daughter.
Carey Casey is CEO of the Kansas City-based National Center for Fathering—Fathers.com—and author of the book Championship Fathering (2009). Carey and his wife, Melanie, live in Lee’s Summit.