LDS families tend to be large. I grew up as the oldest of six kids. With that many kids in the family, it is easy to feel lost or have feelings of jealousy between siblings. One thing that helped my parents combat those feelings was to spend time individually with each child.
Fathers are counseled to have personal interviews with their children on a regular basis. This gives the father a chance to know what concerns their children and to give them counsel regarding any questions the child may have. While formal interviews are important, they don’t always need to be formal. My dad is a huge BYU football and basketball fan. We often spent time one-on-one with my dad as he took each one of us to one of the games during the season. The time we spent together really helped me to get to know my father.
Another thing my parents did was to take each child individually. One way you can do this is on a rotating basis. You can have a night each week in which either you or your spouse spends some quality time with one of the children. The one staying at home with the rest of the family can still have fun with the other kids.
You can also set aside time each day for you to spend focused on each child. While my toddler is asleep, I spend some quality time with just my daughter. When she is at preschool, I’ll spend some time playing with just my son. I plan on doing the same thing when my kids are in elementary school. I’ll spend sometime with each one, every day after school. It might not be a huge amount of time, but five or ten minutes can really make a difference to each child.
It also makes a difference to have the whole family support each child’s talents or interests. Try to have family members attend dance and piano recitals. You can encourage other children to attend at least one ball game a season to cheer on a brother or sister. What are some ways that you’ve found to build relationships with each individual child?