Cheryl DeWitt died of cancer several years ago. But her story of one-on-one time is a true inspiration.
Cheryl started going on walks for exercise on a mile-long loop around her family's house. Her kids would sometimes join her and she noticed that they opened up and talked more during those walks. Being able to walk side-by-side and having something to do made it easier for them to talk and process things. It was less intimidating than sitting formally for a talk and face-to-face.
So she got more intentional about asking the kids to go with her, started asking them questions and bringing up discussions that needed to be had. She also made sure she spent time with each kid, each week on a walk.
As time went on, her kids started asking her if she would go walk a loop with them when they needed to talk. That made it easier for the kids to initiate, being able to ask to walk a loop rather than saying, Mom I need to talk or Mom I need help. If they got to the end of the loop, back at home, and they needed to keep talking, they would ask her to go for another loop.
Cheryl said that when her son was a teenager, he kept on talking to her through those years. Even about really tough subjects, those you wouldn't think a teenage boy share, where she fully expected him to start to clam up and not want to talk, he kept on sharing.
Those lines of communication were kept open from young ages because they had a routine that was comfortable for all of them. That’s what kept him talking even when most boys start to not want to talk to their moms or parents in general.
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When You Do the Other Thing You Like
We all deserve a little "Me Time". But sometimes the price of one-on-one time is giving up something that you really do deserve, so that you can connect with your kid. Look at your calendar this week. Is golf, netflix, video games, youtube going to end up taking up more than 15 minutes? If so, that's 15 minutes that could go to building the relational bridge with one of the kids God's entrusted to you. Make the most of every opportunity.
A Day Away from School
I heard from a parent at HPC that he picks a random day each semester to pull his kid out of school as a surprise and spend the day with him/her doing something fun. This is every kind of win.
While You Do Laundry
Have your kid help you fold laundry. If you have to refold a few things, that's ok. Doing something with your hands together is a great bonding experience.
15 Minutes AFTER Bed-Time (Younger Kids)
If you've got a pile of kids, which many of us do, let one of them stay up 15 minutes after bed-time once a week to have a little special time. They'll staying up late and you'll be able focus on one while the rest sleep!
Let all of the kids eat dinner in one room, except for one kid. Pull your plates into another room with one of your kids and have dinner alone once a week. If you're married, let your spouse stay with the rest!
In The Car<h/3>
The car is a great place to have deep discussions. You've got a captive audience and eye contact isn't required. Make the most of every drive.
At the Grocery Store
I loved going to the grocery store as a kid with my parents. I have no idea why. Your kid make be the same. The captive audience and eye contact thing from above applies!
Over Text (Older Kids)
It may not feel as meaningful, but an "I love you", "I'm praying for you," "I'm proud to be your parent" text goes a long way and makes one-on-one time feel more welcome and natural.
The Ride Home From Church
There's always at least a few minutes each week that you should all be together as a fam. And you all just came from church! Ask everyone to share their favorite part of the morning.
During A Meal
Whatever it takes, you need to eat one meal together as a family. Even if you've only got time for one don't let it slip by without trying to connect both relationally and Spiritually. Read a Bible devotional in between bites. Dinner or breakfast both work great.
A Guarded Night
Find one hour, one night a week that can't be touched. If you're part of a small group, see if that same night can't also double as family time. Come home and share with your kids about what you talked about and how it might relate to their lives.
If you volunteer somewhere, see if it's possible to bring your kid along with. Even if they just watch, it can be a special time together. This can work for one-on-one as well! Talk about how Jesus served everyone when everyone should have been serving him!
Wake Up Early Once A Week
This might be impossible for the night-owls, but solidarity and some cinnamon rolls can go a long way. Talk about Jesus while the sugar is still doing it's thing!
Set aside time to celebrate the little things. Even if it's just passing a test, winning a game or making it through a family fight without killing each other, use celebration as a time to talk about the most important things.