My oldest boys are 17 months apart. Most of the time  it is an enormous blessing to have them so close. But there are some times when their closeness begins to wear on us all. Whether they are plotting mischief, scuffling over a toy, or just not getting along… there are occasions when it becomes clear that they need some time apart.

Don’t we all feel that way sometimes? Sometimes we just need some time alone with our thoughts, without the constant rub of other personalities. Tricia has already written on some great ways to give them the separation they need here. I also like to encourage some separate play time. I might send one outside for 30 minutes to daydream and wander while one has the freedom to enjoy their shared room alone for a while. Then we’ll switch.

And sometimes what the child needs isn’t just time alone, but time alone with Mom or Dad. I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that when I am spending time alone with one of my children, they seem to mature several years instantly. They are no longer trying to impress or compete with siblings. They aren’t vying for your attention because they already have it. They are free to just be that sweet child that you always knew was buried in there somewhere. We’ve been trying to make it a habit for one parent to get out of the house with one child each week. Even if it is just a Saturday morning trip to Home Depot, the time away seems to refresh their little spirits in amazing ways. It is in those times that relationship building finds its greatest opportunity.

By establishing some separate time, you can conquer bad attitudes, frustration, anxiety, and sibling rivalry – even if only for a few minutes 🙂