“A Special Togetherness,” Ensign, Jan. 1979, 60
When I had four preschool children at home a few years ago, there were two problems that seemed difficult to solve: how to get them to bed at night without a hassle, and how to sit down with just one child at a time—I either had all of them around me or they all wanted to be playing together.
The children are a bit older now, and we have added to the fold, but after trying many methods, we hit upon one that has been successful, and I wanted to share it.
We assigned each child a different night to stay up one hour later than the others—and just knowing he would have a night to stay up during the week made him cooperative in going to bed the other nights, and gave me time alone with one child. As we kept working on the plan, a formula evolved that I couldn’t do without.
The children still have their assigned night each week, but now it’s an assigned day as well. The one who stays up late also gets to choose our breakfast menu for that day, unload the dishwasher, and set the breakfast table. It is also his turn to lead in family prayer; and when the time comes for the other children to go to bed, this child puts each one to bed with a story, hopefully a little hug, and he listens to their prayers. (I will never forget the night I tiptoed up to listen as my three-year-old put his big nine-year-old sister to bed, and heard him say to her at prayer time, “Now say, ‘Heavenly Father.’”)
Getting to know each child individually has been delightful, and we have had many happy hours together (without TV) reading books or playing a game of checkers. My husband has had as much fun building models or playing catch as the boys, and it has been an ideal time to teach my daughter to sew or crochet.
Since Mom and Dad need a night out together, we don’t include the weekends in our special nights. But the weekdays, even after family home evening, are spent getting to know and love each other on a one-to-one basis. Shawna R. Powelson, Orem, Utah