My husband’s and my first plan was to have two children, but we don’t make the plans of life. After years of struggling to have a child, we came to terms with not having children. Again, we don’t make the plans, and unexpectedly after seven years, we were blessed with our rambunctious little girl. Once we became pregnant, we knew right away this would be our only child.
As a parent of an only child, I am that child’s companion, day and night. There is no one to keep her entertained. She comes to me to talk, to play games, and to watch movies. But when we have family time, it is her time. A special bond is made because it is all about her. Although our everyday life is different from most, it is our special journey.
Here are a few things we have learned through the years to keep our lives busy and special for her as an only child.
Be Your Child’s Friend
After homework and chores, your child is going to have down time. Finding ways to keep him or her off the electronics is always best.
Keeping him or her busy can be challenging. Be a friend, and show interest in his or her hobbies. Keep puzzles and board games on hand. If your child is old enough, make up a family game. If he or she likes to read, create a book to keep for years to come. Check online for different events going on in your community. (Be sure to visit the Fort Worth Moms Blog Community Calendar!) Some libraries will have events for kids, teens, and families.
Vacations Keep Him or Her Busy
Although, in the end, you will need a vacation from your vacation, keep your child busy. We try to stay away from your typical beach vacations because there will be some alone time. She looses interest quickly and gets bored. Try to take vacations during the holidays so there are always different things going on.
I hear from so many moms that their children just want to play in the pool. My daughter is no exception. We went to Disney World, and playing in the pool was at the top of her list. We like to stay at hotels that have a children’s play area. Many hotels also offer movie nights as well as craft hour. Stay close to local entertainment and restaurants, so if your schedule changes you have a back up.
Keep the Holidays Special
Holidays can be extra hard for an only child. However, there are so many events you can attend as a family. Put together a calendar, and mark events that you all approve of. For Christmas, we have cookie-decorating parties with close friends. Our daughter gets a special box on Christmas Eve with a Christmas classic movie, pajamas, popcorn, and a craft.
For Easter, we do a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. Putting a small glow stick inside the egg and having her hunt them in the dark is a new family tradition. Discuss with your only child what will spark his or her interest, and make your own holiday traditions.
Stay Close to Family and Friends
Keep close contact with family and friends who have children your child’s age. I am an introvert, but I get myself out there at school functions or parent events. Put a social media page together just for your school and your child’s grade level. You would be surprised how many parents join. It is not only to get info of goings on at the school, but also to get the kids together for sports teams or local events in your neighborhood. Getting to know new parents or keeping contact with past classmates is great for special outings and play dates.
What are your tips for life with an only child?