This week I had the pleasure of spending an entire day of one-on-one time with one of my children. This does not happen very often – in this case it was due to my son’s school having an in-service day which meant that I had to swap my work days so he could be looked after.

I think it is easy to underestimate the value of one-on-one time with your kids. It’s not easy to get a lot of this time, especially when you have 3 children who all demand and apparently need different things, all, amazingly, at the same time!

So, I have come to be grateful for those opportunities when I can spend some meaningful one-on-one time with my kids individually. It gives me the chance to get to know them better without the noise and distraction of the entire household and allows me to spend important time really listening to them.

For instance, I adore my Fridays with Delilah Bear where we do boring household things together but find lots of fun in the simple things. Her interest in the seemingly mundane and her excitement in discovering something new never ceases to make me smile.

I don’t get regular opportunities to spend individual time with my older two but I do try to grab them when I can. So while I was initially annoyed when I learned Gilbert had an in-service day the day before the end of the school term (insane timing, honestly) I ended up really looking forward to some rare alone time with him.

Gilbert enjoys going out to shopping centres – he always has. He loves the lights and the escalators and the travelators and the stairs and the lifts. When going on a shopping outing with Gilbert, you work on a quid quo pro arrangement. You get to go to your shop of choice as long as he first gets to travel on his mode of people transport of choice.

On these outings it’s also best to plan your itinerary so you both know what’s going to happen and can plan accordingly…

On Thursday, the plan was to go on an escalator, have a haircut, enjoy some morning tea (necessary bribe to get the haircut happening), try out a travelator, shop for various items (including a new book for Gilbert – thankfully Target had his favourite range of books on special!), take a trip on an even longer travelator and then head home.

We had a great day. Aside from our itinerary we also looked at a giant chess set that took his fancy. He now wants to learn how to play (while I’m racking my brains to remember all the pieces and their rules of movement…) We talked about his friends at school, what he wanted to do for the holidays and he helped me choose new sandals for his sisters.

He insisted on ordering our morning tea and did so beautifully. It is something he has been working on for a while and I was so proud to see him confidently making his order and using appropriate language.

He still likes to hold my hand (shopping centres can be quite daunting for him even with their shiny modes of people transport) and I like that too. He will be 8 next year, I’m sure it will become daggy sometime in the near future so I will treasure these moments while I have them.

I hope to take Matilda out for some mummy-daughter time this weekend. The warmer weather has highlighted some major holes in her wardrobe and she is getting to the age when she is developing her own distinctive style. I hope we enjoy an equally fun day shopping together.

So, I am very grateful for those rare moments of one-on-one time with my three little bears. I just have to be a little more proactive so I can have more of them in the future!