How to Spend One-on-One Time With Your Oldest

By Shannon Gurnee
In Children
March 23, 2021

Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered guest post about How to Spend One-on-One Time with Your Oldest.

One-on-One time

Your baby is crying because he needs a diaper change and is hungry. So what do you do? You ask your oldest if she can bring you a diaper and wipes, and tell her to grab some string cheese from the kitchen to snack on until you can make her lunch. She sweetly does what you ask her to do, and then plays with her toys to pass the time while you take care of the baby. 

Sound familiar? This happens a lot when you have children. You expect your firstborn to be your little helper, and they end up getting less attention because they don’t need as much help and have learned to entertain themselves. In the midst of all the crying, diapering, breastfeeding, cleaning, working and running errands, it can be easy to forget how much your oldest child still needs you.

No matter what parenting philosophy you follow, all parents can agree – and studies and statistics prove – that spending quality time with your kids promotes healthy physical and emotional child development, as well as creates a healthy parent-child relationship. When you spend one-on-one time with your oldest child, you will better understand them. You will learn more about them, about their likes, worries and dreams. In turn, your child will feel better understood, appreciated, important and loved.

So how can you spend quality one-on-one time with your oldest child, especially when you feel like you don’t have any more time or energy to give? It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. You don’t have to plan an entire day filled with things to do. You don’t have to spend $100 on tickets to a basketball game. You just have to give them your undivided attention and love for a small part of each day.

Here are some easy, yet meaningful ways to connect with your oldest child.

1. Read Together

Reading a short story or 1-2 chapters of a book is a great habit to get into, and it can easily be done during the baby’s naptime or right before your oldest child’s bedtime. If they can’t read yet, let them choose a book for you to read to them. If they can read, read a book out loud together.

2. Play Their Favorite Game

Whether it’s another afternoon spent playing catch in the backyard or a board game, you’ll be strengthening their hand-eye coordination and healthy brain development, as well as strengthening your bond with them.

3. Engage in Pretend Play

If your oldest is a toddler or preschooler, the best thing you can do with them is put aside time during the day for pretend play. Be the one to initiate it, and then let your child’s imagination take the lead. Pots and pans, play foods, cash registers with play money and girls’ dress-up clothes at Presley Couture are great props to help create a safe and fun atmosphere for pretend play.

4. Run Errands Together

Let your oldest run errands with you, and then stop to get a donut on the way home. To you, running errands together may seem so simple, but to your child, it may be one of the most memorable ways you spend one-on-one time with them.

5. Let Them Help You

Have your oldest help you with small household repairs and other home improvement projects, like replacing the batteries in the smoke detectors. It’s a fun way to teach them how things work and how to safely use tools. You can start doing this with a toddler by letting them hand you the tools you need, and then as they get older you can switch roles and be the one sitting there assisting them.

6. Go on a Walk

Is your baby having one of those days where you can’t put him down? Put him in a baby carrier and go on a walk with your oldest child. There’s a good chance your baby will fall asleep or at least be calm and quiet enough so you can talk with your oldest about things that are important to them. If you don’t have a baby carrier, look into Baby Tula carriers. No matter which style you choose, Baby Tula offers ergonomic carriers that are as versatile and supportive as they are comfortable and cute.

7. Create an Idea Box

This suggestion isn’t for everyday play. It’s for those more special one-on-one times, like maybe on the weekends or when someone watches the baby and you have more uninterrupted time together. Sit down and make a list together of things they want to do with you, such as making cookies or going to the zoo, and then put them in a box for your kid to pick out of when it’s time for a mommy-and-me or daddy-and-me date. 

No matter what you end up doing together, even just 5 minutes a day lets your oldest child know that while you’ve got work, errands, household chores and a baby to take care of, they are still a priority to you.


About Has 2089 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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