Welcome!!! It’s great to hear that our Parenting by Connection approach is already making a difference in your family. You’ve got a tough job being a solo parent so much of the time.
In an ideal world, we’d have all this support so that we could give each of our children enough undivided attention to keep their connection cups full. When you have more than one, it can be tough to find the time to give them each daily Special Time. So we do what we can and we try to get creative.
Patty raised 2 boys as a divorced Mom, and she worked it out by inviting a neighbor boy over to play most afternoons. She would do a short, probably 10 minute Special Time with one son, while the other played with the neighbor. Then she’d switch to her other son, while the first played with the neighbor. By then her 2 boys were connected and thinking well enough that they could play well together for the 10 minutes that she would give the neighbor boy his Special Time.
Perhaps there is a neighborhood 6th, 7th or 8th grader who could come over for a short time in the afternoon after school. Or maybe there is another family who you could get together with. You could trade off watching the children while you gave each of your children Special Time. While daily Special Time is ideal, know that any amount of individual Special Time will make a huge difference in their flexibility, resilience and level of cooperation.
While you may not be able to give them each daily Special Time, you can be mindful of connecting with the 2 of them as much as possible – especially through play. I know parents of siblings who have teamed up with one child to give the other child Special Time and then they switch. So you and your 2 yr old could do whatever your 6 yr old wants to do, and then you and your 6 yr old shine your attention and follow the lead of your 2 yr old.
And when it’s all 3 of you together, you can do rough n tumble games and lots of playlistening where YOU, the adult take the less powerful role. You follow your kiddos’ lead and even encourage them to gang up on you. That kind of play will strengthen their relationship and deepen their connection with you.
Whatever amount of connection we can give our children is like money in the bank. Filling up their cup really helps them to think well and thrive. It sounds like you are already seeing the results of this. Good for you! Pat yourself on the back for the time that you are able to give them, and look for little opportunities to give each just a few minutes of individual attention. Maybe when Dad’s available, you can double up on your Special Time – so that they each get some time with you and they each get some Special Time with Dad.
It sounds like you are doing really well, Tammy. I trust that you will figure out how to do a little more if it seems like they need more. Keep in touch and please let us know how it goes.
Peace & Smiles,
Parenting by Connection Certified Instructor
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