By Amanda Griffin Jacob
I have three children. Young ones at that. The demand for my attention from these three little humans is quite spectacular every single day. There is only one of me to go around which leaves them feeling short changed on occasion. Last year, I decided that I would start taking the kids separately on little trips so that I could focus and bond with them in a more centered manner. I didn’t want them to feel like they constantly have to fight for my attentiveness, amongst each other and the other daily permutations that come along with life. These trips are always about just me and my kid (or kids). No helpers brought along. Activities sought out and dedicated to their enjoyment.
In 2016, I brought Lila with me on a long trip to the States and Mexico for a couple of weddings and some RnR. At the time she was only 15 months old and we had such an amazing experience together. As the third child, she has to compete with her two much more brazen older brothers for a piece of her mama. It was such a joy for her and for me to be able to have some quality alone time together with no siblings taking away my attention.
This year, Kieran, Kalon, and I took a mini trip to Australia to visit my mother and my sister. It has been 10 days of non-stop activities catered solely to my boys. Packed with visits to the Aquarium, Movie World, the Australia Zoo as well as multiple playgrounds, and even squeezing in a Despicable Me 3 showing. As with my vacation to the States with Lila, this one has also been physically exhausting. Looking after two rambunctious boys who have enough energy to power a small town leaves me snoring in bed every night by 9 p.m. Not to mention cooking, getting the boys ready, mediating fights, and cleaning up. I find myself wondering how working women get by without any help. My respect for them triples with every “bonding” trip I take with my kids. One of the plus points is this experience has succeeded in helping to make the boys much more independent. As I wrote in my last article, growing up with helpers can foster lazy children who turn into idle adults. Which is absolutely the last thing you want to actuate as a parent. Thankfully my children will be having annual vacations to visit their Australian family. This is how I was raised (my parents used to leave me for weeks at a time at my grandparents’ and aunt’s homes in England each summer). A much needed dose of the real world!
As a mother of multiple children, I can’t advocate this kind of bonding time enough. Each child needs to feel your undivided attention every so often. And you as a parent need this time too. It helps you to really understand your child where they can feel free to be themselves with you without having to contend with their siblings. It doesn’t have to be a trip away (although you get tons of quality time together this way). Solo dates with each child are a fantastic way to nurture your bond.
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