Having five kids means that life is rarely boring or lonely!  Just hanging out around the house can be chock full of entertainment.  But sometimes you want to try something new or just get out of your usual rut.

We sometimes struggle to find affordable ways to entertain a medium sized family.  But if you are creative and thrifty, you can make it work.


We all know how important spending one on one time with each of our kids is.  If you struggle to make it a priority, here are some tips to help you implement it in your home.  And, of course, ways to keep it affordable!

Let’s talk about tips for finding one on one time with children in a large family.

Why One on One Time?

I probably don’t have to convince you that spending quality time with each individual child is important.  You want to bond with your children!  But there are other benefits to one on one time.

It’s more affordable.  Taking the whole crew out can cost a fortune.  Even if tickets are “only” $7, when you multiply that by 5 kids it can get pricey in a hurry.  Taking only one child for some special time makes that $7 more practical.

It’s more personal.  Not every child loves roller coasters.  But your oldest begs to go to the theme park!  Not all of them are interested in a science museum.  But  your 3rd born could spend hours there.  Choosing to take just that one child makes it more fun for everyone.

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How Can I Make This Work?

It can be difficult to find the time to spend with just one of our kids.  But it’s important to try to make this time happen.  A large family home is a busy one!  Sometimes one child is having problems that go unrecognized due to the daily chaos.  A one on one “date night” is a great way to learn what’s new in his world.

Where to start?

I vote that you start with the first born child.  Full disclosure; I’m a first born child.  Remember that first borns are often the “guinea pigs” of the family.  So they should also get some perks!

Ask your oldest what he or she would do if they had a whole afternoon with just Mom or Dad.  Then choose the best option from some of the ideas they give you.

If you get a sullen look or they seem disinterested, pursue that time anyway.  Getting a grumpy child out on the town works magic for lightening their mood.  You have a good idea of what each of your children would love to do, so go with your gut.

If you hear “that’s not fair” from the others, that’s ok.  Tell them to start thinking about what they want to do on their special afternoon.

What to do?

There are a couple of ways you can go with this.  The first and most obvious way is to do something this particular child is super interested in.  If we were taking our 11 year old out, for instance, we’d likely go to a minor or major league baseball game.  He loves sports!  If it were our 9 year old’s turn, he’d probably choose Chuck E. Cheese or some place with games.

Another thought would be to choose something you enjoyed doing as a child.  Maybe your son or daughter would love it, too, if they were introduced to it.

More One on One Time Suggestions

Kids love these ideas:

  • sporting event (baseball, basketball, minor league or college games)
  • movie (especially a matinee or a discount theater)
  • skating
  • hiking
  • fishing
  • bowling
  • carnivals or festivals
  • conventions
  • grab ice cream or another treat

Don’t forget to do a quick coupon search before you leave the house!

When to go?

You’ll need to decide what timing works out the best for your family.  Be sure to make the time a priority or it won’t happen.  Personally, I think that if one on one time doesn’t happen super frequently, it’s important enough that they can stay up late for some fun, even on a school night.

You might find that making it a regular Thursday night date works best for you.  Or you may want to buy tickets in advance and put the date on the calendar to keep it a priority.  Whatever makes it easiest to get some fun time in!

How to Cover Sitting

If you can afford a sitter, that’s great.  Even better if an older child is available to watch the littles.

If not, try to work this out so that you and your spouse trade.  One stays home with the kids while the other goes out for the one on one time.

If you have no spouse or that arrangement isn’t practical, check with a friend to see if they’d like to trade babysitting.  I bet your friend would like more one on one time with her own children, too.

These tips will give you and your child the one on one time you crave!

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What’s your favorite way to catch some one on one time with your kids?

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