Connecting with Our Kids: One-on-One Experiences

christian family stewardship christian parenting family parenting Mar 03, 2024
connecting with our kids one-on-one experiences

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him."

Psalm 127:3


We’ve been blessed with four wonderful children. This comes with a number of perks, and it also has its challenges. Our kids are great friends and have close relationships with each other, but we have also found that cultivating one-on-one parent-child relationships can be a challenge when we are outnumbered two to one! We work hard to be intentional about doing one-on-one experiences with our kids and invest in them individually, and this has resulted in many benefits that we’re excited to share with you.


Teaching Them Diligently

Our children observe us constantly. When we have one-on-one experiences with our kids, we can demonstrate through both words and actions how to live a life that reflects our faith and values. Many parents assume that kids will pick up on their faith by osmosis, but this is not what Scripture tells us. Instead, we are instructed to teach our faith to our children daily.

Spending time with each child helps us carve out time to speak about what we are reading in the Bible, our personal prayer life, the life of Jesus, etc. It also gives us the opportunity to encourage each child in their own spiritual disciplines and personal faith. We often talk about travels we’ve enjoyed and how they are a blessing from the Lord as we strive to help cultivate a spirit of gratitude in our family.


Cultivating Openness

When we are at home and in our daily routine, having one-on-one experiences with our kids isn't always easy. This means that we have to be intentional in our planning to make it happen. It is important to us that when we can give a child individual attention, they receive our full attention: no screens, no third wheels, no big distractions.

One-on-one experiences with kids helps cultivate an atmosphere of openness where a child can discuss topics that they may otherwise not want to discuss when they’re around other family members. They can ask hard questions, share stories, voice concerns, and process out loud without anyone interfering. This can often mean conversations occur that were unplanned or on their minds but would not have naturally come up at home. It also lends time for individual praise, instruction, and coaching.


Personalized Memories

When we have one-on-one experiences with kids, we try to tailor what we do to that particular child. It gives us the opportunity to do things that we wouldn’t necessarily do as an entire family, but could be a special experience in a one-on-one context. Sometimes the activity is too expensive for a group of six but very affordable for two. Other times we may choose something that is very age-specific or interest-driven.

In any case, personalized and thoughtful experiences are a fun and memorable way to express your love and interest to your children. They can communicate, “I like you, I enjoy being with you, and I find you interesting.” These are important truths that mold healthy and wholehearted kids and create memories with each one to last a lifetime.


Stirring Things Up

The child off on an adventure isn’t the only one who gets a new experience. When you pull one kid out of the mix, the other siblings often interact in different ways. A quiet child may become a leader, a new game may be invented, or a fun movie may be discovered. It is amazing how differently siblings can interact when one party is removed, and roles are suddenly up for grabs. We see this most clearly when the oldest – who naturally leads and sets the tone – has left.


The Gift of Anticipation

Because we have to plan these experiences in advance, our kids usually have high anticipation for their turn when it rolls around. Sometimes they even help us in the preparation. Like Christmas morning, waiting and planning for the event is half the fun! When the day finally arrives, there is always a great amount of joy surrounding it. This puts both parent and child in an excellent position to enjoy each other and the special things they have planned.


A Personal Example

In our family, we’ve implemented these fun times in a few ways. Some are simple, and some are more elaborate, but they’re always enjoyed! One simple way we’ve made this work is that Derek does a one-on-one dinner with a child each Tuesday night. With four kids, this means that each kid gets roughly one special dinner with Dad each month.

He or she gets to choose the restaurant – often fast food – and the two of them discuss current events, school activities, struggles, worries, and future aspirations. This regular meeting gives the child a regular timeframe when they know they will have one-on-one time with Dad to discuss any specific thoughts, ideas, or concerns that they might not otherwise want to bring up during the week.

Derek also does one-on-one trips with each of the kids to Branson, MO, for a weekend around their half-birthday. They get to pick the activities that they want to do, as well as any special foods they want to eat. Derek also does a bigger one-on-one trip with each child around their birthday for three to four days. He gives them several options to choose from, and the two of them select their activities and restaurants together.

All of these experiences – even the Tuesday night dinners – are greatly anticipated by our kids. Because of how special these times are to each of them, the “left behind” brothers and sisters are usually very excited for the child who is leaving and look forward to hearing about the fun they’ve had when they return. This has really cultivated rejoicing with others in our children and has been an unexpected blessing. We highly recommend spending one-on-one time with each of your children regularly. It has been of great benefit to our family relationships, and we believe it would do the same for you.


Key Points

  • One-on-one experiences can be precious for both the child and the parent.
  • They create time and opportunity for discussions and experiences that might not otherwise happen as part of the normal family routine.
  • If you are purposeful about making them happen, they will often lead to deeper connections and lifelong memories.


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