9 ways to bond one-on-one with junior

Make the most of your mini-me’s fleeting childhood ― invest in quality time regularly with your child, just you two

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One-on-one time with your child allows you to give her your undivided attention and helps her nurture individual personality. It also gives you the chance to get to know her as a parent.

In addition, the time she spends bonding solely with mum is often different from how she fills her time with dad. These moments are crucial to your little one’s physical and emotional development, and helps them feel special in different ways.

Yet, it can be challenging finding pockets of time from your busy day to spend with your tyke. And often, when the weekend comes around, you are suddenly at a loss to find activities you can do together. Try these ways to cement your connection with your child.

1. Bring your kid on a date

Make an event of it. Let your mini-me know a few days in advance, and help her pick a cute outfit for the occasion. Ask her where she would like to dine, or pick somewhere unique, where you’ve never been, together.

Ban all gadgets on your date ― not just the iPad for her, but you should turn off your mobile phone, too! Get set to have a good time with your sweetie by asking her about her favourite things ― you’ll realise you might not even know what her favourite food, colour or person is!

Bringing your tot on a date regularly (perhaps once a month) will keep the communication lines open between the two of you. It gives her an opportunity to talk about anything in the world without getting interrupted (by a sibling, perhaps) or distracted by stuff that’s going on around her.

Build your communication lines now, and she’ll always know she has a direct line to you, even when she is older.

Build your communication lines now, and she’ll always know she has a direct line to you.

2. Do craftwork together

Being creative with your tot has immense benefits. Besides encouraging her visual processing and fine motor skills, it gives you the opportunity to create something together, and problem-solve when necessary. You’re also creating memories to last a lifetime.

Never trusted your kewpie with a pair of scissors before? One-on-one time is the best time to let her have free rein ― she’s safe since has your undivided attention. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your creation is, what matters is that you did it together. Find some awesome craft ideas here and here.

3. Prepare a meal

Have some time to spare before daddy comes home? Instead of turning on the TV to keep her entertained as you prep dinner, get her involved. Let her remove the egg shells from (cooled) hard-boiled eggs, roll up meatballs, or mash some potatoes.

Toddlers are perfectly capable of giving you a hand when you bake, too. Let them whisk muffin batter or use their little hands to shape cookie dough. They will even love to help you measure out your ingredients (honing their maths skills while they’re at it!)

Cooking together builds your child’s self-esteem and confidence, plus, working with you in the kitchen sets the scene for an open, relaxed conversation.

4. Learn a new skill

If you’ve never learnt to swim, play the piano, or ride a bike, why not do it together with junior? Signing up for an adult-and-child course gives you the perfect excuse to set aside a regular date and time to spend with your munchkin.

Gabrielle Oh enjoys accompanying her daughter Giselle, 4, to piano lessons every weekend. “I thought I would just be sitting in with her, but I’ve actually learnt, for the first time in my life, to read music. We have lots of fun practising together during the week as well.”

5. Swap stories

Your tot would love hearing stories about your own childhood. You could do this simple activity before bedtime every evening: Pick a topic, such as “My favourite toy when I was a child”, or “My favourite place my mummy brought me to”, and take turns to discuss the topic.

While your little girl might tell you all about the “My Little Pony” toy she got for Christmas last year, you could regale her with tales of your favourite “Polly Pocket” set, and how a stranger returned your precious doll to you after you accidentally left it at a shopping mall once. Your sweetie’s imagination will soar as she thinks about her own mum as a little girl, just like herself.


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6.
Have a picnic

Eating a meal outdoors is a wonderful and inexpensive way to spend time with your kewpie. Start by planning the “menu” with her ― make sandwiches at home together, then pick up some strawberries or grapes at the supermarket.

Once you’ve settled your eats, decide where you’d like to go. You have plenty of options from East Coast Park, Changi Beach and The Botanic Gardens, to Gardens by the Bay. Your sweetie will love the wide open spaces, the fresh air, and of course, your company!

Weather not cooperating? Don’t be too quick to shelve your picnic plans ― lay a blanket in your living room and enjoy your picnic indoors!

Massaging is a great way to physically connect and bond with your tot.

7. Read together

Take your nightly bedtime story sessions to the next level ― start a “secret book club” with your little darling. Once a fortnight, take her ― just the two of you ― to the library. Pick a couple of books that you can read, as well as work on special little activities with, together. For instance, if you’re reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you can make a little caterpillar toy out of toilet paper rolls. This book club will be something private that’s shared just by you and your mini-me.

8. Give junior a massage

You might have given her massages when she was a baby, but once she started crawling and then walking, it was all too easy to forget those tender moments. Giving her a good rub is a great way to re-connect physically and bond with your tot. Known to lower stress and anxiety levels in kids, massages also help them self-soothe and regulate their emotions.

Even if you don’t have time for a massage, you can still embrace the power of touch. Little gestures like ruffling your little girl’s hair, or giving her a warm hug as she plays with her blocks are a physical show of your affection.

9. Take a short trip

Got an open weekend? Why not take a spontaneous short trip? A couple of nights in Bali or Phuket can leave the both of you rested and recharged. Or go the whole hog and take your tiny tot for a mini-adventure, which is what this dad did.

Alternatively, Singapore has many convenient kid-friendly staycation options, or you could just hop across to Legoland, Malaysia for a weekend you’ll all remember.

Photos: iStock

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