Ask Grandma JeddahQuestion:
I live in Holland and I am homeschooling my boys. So I find it hard to give them one on one time with me because they are with me every day walhamdoelilah. How can I give them the one-on-one time? Do you have some advice for me? I am convinced that hitting is not okay. They can obey without hitting, but I am trying to find out how, and that is why I am reading your book, and I am very happy with it, Alhamdullilah.
Assalamu Alaikum Sister,May Allah reward you for seeking ways to spend more personal time with your sons. Spending quality as well as quantity time with your children is important for their proper development, as you know.
Take comfort in knowing that by homeschooling your boys, you give them one-on-one attention, even if you don’t realize it. When teaching your soon to be 6-year-old how to write his letters, much of the practice involves your holding his hand, close-up contact with him, and continuous verbal direction and reinforcement. The same goes for when you’re helping your 3-year-old put his puzzles together. Even though you may be teaching them at the same time and nursing the littlest one, they are still getting personal attention from you.
Pat yourself on the back that you have chosen homeschooling as a method of teaching your sons. It is an educational method that allows them to have frequent contact and interaction with you.
These crucial developmental years cannot be replaced once your sons have aged beyond them. And you are providing your kids with optimum attention from you as they move through this growth period.
The following suggestions are probably more closely related to what you are seeking in your question. One way of spending more one-on-one time with individual children is by making dates with them. Once a week you can schedule an outing with each child. Have Dad watch the other two while you go on a 30 to 45 minute outing with one of boys. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. A visit to the park to play on the swings and slide for a few minutes. You can take a trip to the market with one of your sons to pick up some items for dinner. Be sure to let him pick out something special for himself and the other two siblings back at home. He’ll feel important for doing it. A walk around the corner can add up to one-on-one time together.
The thing to remember with whatever outing you choose is to talk to your child on the way to and back from your excursions. Talk about him, you, Allah, what you see on the way, whatever comes to your mind. Use that as a time to answer all of his back-to-back questions, with no frustration in your tone, only concern for your time together.
You can also use periods of activity at home to your advantage. During bath time, use those 5 to 10 minutes to smile, laugh, joke and play with one child at a time. Splash the water, let him feel with his fingers the extremes between warm and cool water, let the warm water pour down his back. Talk to him about which story he wants you to read to him after he’s slipped on his pajamas. Use your imagination for conversation and interaction ideas.
How about when you’re washing dishes, let them take turns each day sitting on the counter to talk to you while you wash. Or what about when you’re cooking a cake, let each one stir while the other counts to 10, then they exchange positions.
Play with them in turn. Play pony back ride. Get on your knees and ride one to the other room and back. Then let another child have a turn.
During story time at bedtime, have your kids take turns sitting on your lap for their story to be read. Or if only one story is read per night, let them take turns each night to sit on your lap.
Spending one-on-one needn’t amount to large blocks of time. Short, frequent, spurts of one-on-one attention can be productive, as well.
I wouldn’t be too concerned about feeling neglectful of giving your sons one-on-one attention. The fact that you’re homeschooling them as well as seeking out ways to become a better parent shows you’re doing a great job at trying to fulfill your sons’ needs, and Allahu Alim.
May Allah bless you to raise all your children up as good Muslims and bless your children to be blessings for you and your family in this world and the hereafter.
For more information on making obeying easier and discipline simpler without hitting, shouting or shaming, visit Grandma Jeddah’s website at:
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Grandma Jeddah is the author of Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline your Muslim Child—And Keep your Peace of Mind While at It. Order her book or subscribe to her free newsletter at www.grandmajeddah.com.