Personal attention is so important. All children need positive attention. They need this attention not just when they are being good. Not just when they are being bad. How about when they are just being themselves, not good or bad.
Positive Parenting Solutions calls it Mind, Body & Soul time. Another expert calls it The Attachment Diet. Attachment Theory says that if you are there for your child, responding to their needs constantly and attentively, they will be more independent as they grow and are ready to go off and explore as they are coming from a secure base. You will notice that as they are learning independence, they often come back at the beginning to check that you are still there watching out for them and then they go off again to explore. This regular coming back to check your permanence is normal and healthy. You are their secure base.
20 minutes a day either all at once or broken up of individualized attention makes a world of difference. This is hard when you have many children, like I do. This is hard when you are off at work most of the day. Do what you can as it will make a big difference.
The nursing time can be this time. The bottle feeding time can be this time. Make eye contact, make it a bonding time.
The toddler bed time can be this time. Take her to bed instead of sending her to bed. The talk about the day time, the story, the choosing pj's together, it's precious time.
The homework time can be this time. Stay with him while he writes out his spelling words. Talk about the things he's learning. Sit shoulder to shoulder, rest your hand on his back.
Another idea is to Make breakfast together after a good night's sleep. This could be your time. With 5 kids, this has been something I have to make a conscious effort with because the day flies by. This morning, for us, it was breakfast time. Usually it's a combo of things to get everyone's attention time in. Heart shaped eggs in toast was a hit for valentines day. They felt loved. It's often a "help yourself" breakfast for my older children.
Here's how you make it.
Use a large cookie cutter to cut the heart shape out of the bread. Melt butter in your frying pan. Add the 2 pieces of bread. (Heart and outline of heart.) Break an egg into the heart hole. After a minute of browning, flip it over. The heart cut out will probably cook a little faster. One side will be prettier than the other side and my kids like it better if I break the yolk. Add salt and pepper if you like. My mom served it with syrup but it's great plain too.
Tracy Spackman is the mother of 5 and a Trained and Certified Sleep Coach. Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/QuietNights
Check out her Website at http://getquietnights.com/
Call her for a free 15 min evaluation to see if sleep coaching is for you.