Some parents like to take trips with just one of their children at a time, and it's surprisingly controversial!
As a mother of young kids, I’m always looking for advice and ideas from more experienced moms. One unusual idea I’ve seen recently surprised and intrigued me.
Several moms who I really admire like to take trips with just one child at a time.
I first heard of the idea from Catholic writer Kathryn Whitaker. Her blog and book are a wealth of inspiration, so I always enjoy reading how she does things. She shared on her blog that she created a family tradition to take each of her six children on a special 10-year-old birthday vacation with one parent.
Each child gets a turn for a one-on-one trip, so no one feels left out. And the child gets to choose the destination, which sounds like so much fun!
Whitaker explained the reasoning behind the trip. She wrote,
We recognize that our children don’t get uninterrupted, one-on-one time with us all the time, and certainly not for days at a time. We also recognize that at age 10 we are still somewhat cool and we pray that the door of opportunity to engage in meaningful, heartfelt conversations is opened and strengthened during our time together.
Then I stumbled on an even more elaborate version of this tradition. Utah mom Janssen Bradshaw plans four one-on-one vacations with each of her four children.
Yes, that’s right: FOUR trips with each child! Each parent takes the child on two of the trips. Her plan is to do these trips every other year throughout each child’s teen years. Similarly to Whitaker’s practice, the child gets to choose the destination.
Bradshaw mentioned that these trips have been surprisingly controversial. Some people don’t like the idea of taking just one child on a trip! She wrote on her blog,
Every time I’ve mentioned these solo trips, I’ve gotten a few messages from people who say things like “I’d feel terrible about everyone else missing out on it.” I kind of feel like that’s missing the point. I LOVE our family and I love doing things all together. I ALSO love getting to focus on just one child and making memories just the two of us with no interruptions from other siblings or parent. I want my children to know that I love having them as part of our family AND I see them and love them as their own individual person, separate from their siblings.
Spending time with each child individually is such a beautiful and important part of parenting, for me. I’ve written about spending Thursdays with just one of my four kids.
But I can understand why some parents would hesitate at the thought of taking only one child on a vacation. It’s a bigger experience and a longer time to be away from the others. And frankly, one-on-one trips would be really difficult to do with babies and toddlers at home.
On the other hand, I was the only one of my six siblings who got to take a special trip to New York City with my parents when I was 13, and I remember how much I enjoyed that special bonding time with them. So I can certainly see the appeal of these trips too!
I’m inspired to seek one-on-one time
Ultimately, I’m not sure if one-on-one trips will be in the cards for us. So much will depend on what life is like when my kids are older, and that’s something I can’t predict.
But I love the idea of carving out intentional opportunities to focus on just one child at a time.
I hope to capture the spirit of one-on-one trips by giving each child the individual attention they need within the joyful chaos of our big-family life.