I have a very wise and very dear friend called Donna.
She has ten children, and Caleb, her youngest, is now a young aspiring Paralympian table tennis athlete.
I have learned a great deal from Donna, parent extraordinaire, over the years, but today I want to share one little gem.
Even before her youngest was born, Donna did a “Spoiling Day” each month with each of her kids, who would write their names to reserve a spot in her diary.
When Caleb was born with disability and life-threatening medical issues, Spoiling Day became even more important.
Donna spent a half day, or a few hours, with each of her children 1:1, doing whatever *they* want to do.
It’s special time with Mum. And it didn’t need to cost much, if anything.
So for one the kids, they would like nothing better than getting a big bag of hot chips, sitting by the ocean, sharing them with each other, and throwing them to the seagulls.
For another, it might have been baking some sweet treats together for the afternoon.
For another, it was (and I *love* this one) taking a bag of hot chips to school at lunchtime, and sitting with her son and his friends sharing them in the schoolyard. What a great way to let a kid know they’re important!
Finding 1:1 time with that many kids was obviously a challenge, but Donna let their schools know how important it was to her family, so pulling each child out of school for a few hours once a month or so, was welcomed by an understanding school leadership.
As you can imagine, time is a precious thing when you have ten kids, and moreso when one of them needs a whole lot more hospital, doctor and therapy time than others, so often Caleb would come along to “Spoiling Day” when he was little, but the focus was always on the child whose name was in Donna’s diary. And Caleb would get his own “Spoiling Day” too, of course.
All of Donna’s kids are adults now, but most of them still write their names in her diary for a spoiling day now and then, but now they tend to take her out!
So, have you considered a “Spoiling Day” with your kids?
The bond between your children will hopefully be there long after you are gone, so supporting all your children, and making time for them can really help build their lifelong relationships well after you’re gone.
Thank you Donna for your wisdom.
For more parenting and sibling support and wisdom, Siblings Australia is available to support families who want to better support sibling relationships, and they are a registered NDIS provider. Just a few hours consult with Kate Strohm from Siblings Australia can be such good value. Check them out at https://siblingsaustralia.org.au/
pic desc: a family photo taken at a fairly formal event. Donna standing in the middle of a dozen family members including a babe in arms, behind some of her sons, including Caleb who is sitting in his wheelchair. Everyone is dressed up beautifully in frocks and suits with some very large helium filled gold sparkly balloons behind them. Nearly everyone has a wide smile on their face.
(Posted with permission from Caleb and Donna!)