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Why One-on-One Time is Surprisingly Wonderful

My husband and I spend most of our non-work time with our kids, but nearly all of the time we’ve got the whole brood in tow. As working parents, we want to maximize “family time,” so we tend to spend the weekends doing things en masse.

But last week we had the opportunity to take our oldest son to New York, leaving the younger two at home with a babysitter. On our way home, I asked my son what his favorite part of the trip had been. I expected that he’d say it was the two-hour visit to FAO Schwarz or the Willy-Wonka-style adventure of Dylan’s Candy Shop. So I must admit, I was more than a little surprised when he said his favorite thing was playing catch with his father in Central Park.

Given that we play catch in our backyard nearly every night, I didn’t think that would even make his top-ten list. But then I realized that when we play catch at home, his younger siblings are in the game as well (and let’s just say they haven’t exactly mastered the required skills yet). We have a ball (pun intended), but it’s not the same as playing one-on-one. I guess that’s why my daughter always insists that she, alone, come to the grocery store with me, an outing we’ve incorporated into our weekend routine.

The challenge, I guess, is to figure out how to spend special time with each one, even if that time is spent doing mundane things like going to the supermarket. When you consider that playing catch scored higher than the toy store, I’m optimistic that we can meet the challenge.

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