Time Together is In the Cards

When my 5-year-old became a big sister, she was excited about most aspects of the job. She loves to read to her little brother, to help with bath time and to keep him calm on car rides.
One thing she doesn’t love is sharing her parents’ attention.
Making quality one-on-one time for multiple kids is easier said than done.
The needs of a baby are so immediate and then daily chores pile up.
Despite my best intentions, I know I have often failed my daughter with prioritizing our alone time together.
We’ve found a new trick that has worked wonders in our house.
My mother gave me a gift card for frozen yogurt and told me to treat CeCe when she needed a special outing.
I gave that gift card to CeCe and told her that this was a ticket to get frozen yogurt with just mommy or daddy.
That gift card became a ticket that she used wisely.
The prospect of frozen yogurt didn’t tempt her too quickly – she kept that card until a weekend when she wanted me all to herself.
Too often a child’s need for attention comes out in misbehavior. Instead of getting angry, we found a way for CeCe to clearly communicate that she needs more time with me.
By handing me that card, I know she needs my attention.
It doesn’t have to be a gift card to have value. We plan to make coupons for trips to the library, the playground or other adventures she dreams up.
By giving her a physical object to redeem for our time, we’re giving her the ability to recognize what she is feeling and ask for help in remedying it before it spirals into a meltdown or tantrum for attention. A small piece of paper has changed our dynamic.
We have recaptured some of those sweet alone moments that used to be our everyday reality.
Now I find myself looking forward to the next time CeCe wants to cash in on her coupons.