Other than being a wife, being a mom of many is my favorite thing in the world. There’s just nothing like a house full of laughter, noise, and…yes, clutter.
One of the drawbacks of having this number of kids (11 for those who don’t know…) is the number of times I’ve had people insinuate that they feel sorry for my kids because I must never get time alone with them.
First off, let me just say how untrue that is – at least for my family. Homeschooling allows me to have more time with my kids – alone or otherwise – than any traditionally schooled family ever could.
With that being said, it can be tricky to come up with ways to find alone time with each individual child in a family our size. The key is being intentional about it.
Today I’m going to share with you the most common ways my children and I are able to do this.
How to Find Alone Time with Your Kids When You’re a Mom of Many
– Alternate taking them shopping with you.
If you were looking for glamorous ideas, you won’t get them here. As much as I’d love to advise you to take your kids individually on weekend getaways, I’m going to be realistic with these tips.
Each week I alternate who gets to go to the grocery store with me. This may not sound like much, but my kids LOVE to do this. Not only do they get to spend time with me, but they also get to pick out a treat for coming along. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my kids have happened in the car on the way to the grocery store.
– Hang out with your older kids after the younger ones have gone to sleep.
Every night I can expect to have one of my teenagers come downstairs and sit with me after their siblings are asleep. Some of the ways we pass this time are:
- board games
- binge watching TV shows together
- talking about our day
- telling each other our dreams (my oldest daughter and I always have the strangest dreams)
- going over school work they didn’t understand
- baking or cooking (I can’t count the number of times I’ve had egg rolls at 11pm)
– Interact with your younger children while the older kids are still asleep
Generally speaking, younger children tend to get up a wee bit earlier than their older siblings, so this is the perfect time to have some quiet cuddle time with your little ones. Even if you’re not a morning person (like me), you can still make your younger kids feel special by having a meaningful conversation, reading them a book, or even sitting with them to watch a morning cartoon. Believe me, your little ones won’t care what you’re doing with them. They just want you.
– Take turns going for walks with them.
Conversations that happen while going for walks with your kids rank right up there with conversations that happen in the car; they can be some of the meatiest talks you’ll ever have. There’s just something about the peace and quiet of being out in nature that helps people to open up about what they’ve been thinking about.
My teenage daughters especially love this time. These are the moments I truly believe have enabled us to not only be Mother and Daughters, but best friends.
– Read to them.
I know that usually whenever I write about reading to your kids, I’m usually referring to group read-alouds. Reading alone with one child, however, is something entirely different. There’s just an intimacy about it that can’t be reproduced in a group setting. My 15 year old daughter still enjoys when I read her math book aloud to her. I credit homeschooling for this, because I honestly don’t think it would be this way were she in school.
These are just a few of the ways I’ve found that have worked best for our family when it comes to giving my kids the individual attention they so need. I would love to hear any suggestions from you in the comments. You can never have too much advice when it comes to something as important as this!