We're on week # 4 of dinner night with our kids.
A while back we decided to start trying to spend individual time with each of our children. We started out with our oldest and have been working our way down. Surprisingly enough, not a one of them have complained about not getting to go.
A couple of days ago, my youngest asked,"When is it going to be my turn?" Fortunately for him I was able to say, "This week is your week!" We don't let the kids choose the place but I usually try and go with something that I know they like.
I have seen a difference in the kids. I think they really enjoy our one on one time. Or maybe it's the opportunity to be heard, with two attentive parents who are listening. Without any interruptions by siblings who ALWAYS have an opinion.
The not so plus:
Usually it is Movin' dad and I going out on the weekend. At least once a week. Now with our new plan it is only happening every 5 weeks.
This parenting thing is hard, especially having 4 children.
Trying to make sure that they all feel like they matter.
Because they do. But we all get caught up in our day to day activities
and sometimes it is difficult to always be heard.
Sometimes one child's voice may be overpowered by another's,
sometimes it ,may just be the busyness of making dinner, or answering the phone
that may cut off a point they were trying to make.
After all my 8 year olds story usually turns out to be an episode of Sponge Bob
My daughter is usually laughing so hard trying to reenact something funny her teacher did
My 8th grader usually has a joke to tell or wants to reenact a wrestling move he did that day
My sophomore (when he does speak) just wants to be heard...
So I ask you...Who's story gets to be heard?
Heck...Does anyone listen to me?
OH WAIT...then there's movin' dad who comes home and wants to talk about his day
after he changes and reads the mail and newspaper.
It's hard....really hard.
But...I do feel like the Friday night individual dinner is working.
The only rule we have is no heavy talk on our part.
It's not about grades, or cutting their hair or rules.
It's about enjoying each others company,
...and being heard...
even if it is just about something Patrick said to Sponge Bob.