The divorce process (when kids are concerned) often involves a period of adjustment when both parents must become acclimated to a new set of rules imposed by a child custody agreement. Pertaining to that agreement, each parent will have a scheduled amount of time with their beloved children. For fathers who have been accustomed to being present with their children on a daily basis, any reduction in quality parent-child time can be challenging. Yet, making the most of one-on-one time with each child helps maintain your special relationship and may even foster a greater level of closeness. One-on-one sessions don’t necessarily have to be lengthy; an act as simple as spending quality time taking a child out for lunch may have a big impact on your relationship.
It’s the Little Things that Matter
If you have more than one child, it’s important to spend quality time with each of them on a one-on-one basis. During these precious moments alone together, each child will feel as though he or she is the center of your world and is most likely to share those important little secrets that forge a strong bond between the two of you. Depending on the interests and age of each individual child, any of the following ideas may foster this type of quality time:
Have a bedtime chat. Whenever your children are in your care, the act of spending 10-15 minutes with each of them while they lie in their beds at night is a wonderful way to wrap up the day and show your desire to meet their emotional needs. Small children will appreciate bedtime stories while older ones may want to have a heart-to-heart talk; let each child lead and encourage them to express how they’d most enjoy spending this time with you.
Plan a lunch date. If you live close enough to pick up one of your children for a lunch date, you may be able to squeeze in some quality one-on-one time on even the busiest of days. By planning in advance with your ex and your child’s teacher or guardian, you’ll be able to help your youngster feel like a princess or prince for a precious moment in time – just be sure they each get a turn!
Utilize time in your vehicle. Taking a child with you whenever you run errands or take a trip is a great way to encourage deep conversation. Children love being included in even the simplest of acts (such as grocery shopping or going on other errands), so make the most of the opportunity to share your vehicle with one of your children as often as possible.
Be available via telephone and/or computer. If your child is old enough to connect with you via a phone call, text, or video chat on a computer, make sure you are available to talk with them as much as possible. Texting is a great way to connect with older children one-on-one and allows you to continue your busy schedule while maintaining closeness with your family. Simple “I love you!” messages remind your children that you think of them often and that they are always in your heart.
Quality Time to Deepen Relationships
Even if you are no longer able to spend as much time as you would like with your children, making the most of your time together helps maintain a close bond and shows your interest in remaining present in their lives. While the majority of day-to-day interactions will likely involve all of your children together, those precious moments one-on-one facilitate the creation of some of life’s most treasured memories.