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One on One with Children Tradition

Updated on July 21, 2011

Starting at age 5

When my son turned five it occurred to me that there may come a day where he is less keen to spend time with me. With that in mind I thought of starting a tradition where one day a year, I spend a full day with him and just him. My second child turned five last year and so I started with her also, so now each year I have one one-on-one day with my first child and one one-on-one day with my second child. Three years from now the third will be added.

Age five was a good age to start as the kids have a better amount of stamina for a longer walk, they have a better attention span for watching a movie, and they are a lot more reasonably communicative.

Example One of one-on-one

The summer my son was five years old we took the train into the city, walked up Peel street which leads to a path that goes up the mountain and then we stopped at the lookout. Following that we went to get ice cream at the chalet at the top of the mountain. We then came back down and ate at a restaurant, and finally went to see a movie.

200+ Steps up the mountain
200+ Steps up the mountain

He really liked the walking up the hill and wanted to do it again. There is a spot where there is a staircase that has over 200 steps that is fun to climb, and at that age, was great for him to learn about counting.

Chalet du Mont Royal
Chalet du Mont Royal

Example Two of one-on-one

I don't remember what I did with my son at ages 6 or 7 but last year we went to Arbraska in Rigaud and spent a few hours there, followed by lunch at Mon Village. This was a more expensive day as compared to the previous one, but was tons of fun. Age eight to eleven is a great age for this kind of activity. Arbraska has tree-climbing and zip-lining which is exactly the kind of thing we both like doing.

Example Three of one-on-one

When my second child turned five I took her again by train into the city, but this time instead of walking up the mountain, we walked the longest stretch I could conceive of through the Montreal Underground. We did some window shopping, stopped at a few different points to get a snack or a drink. Then we went to lunch and then went to see a movie. Kind of the same thing as I did with my son but a little less tiring. To get home we also took the train.

Montreal Underground
Montreal Underground

Example Four of one-on-one

My plan this year for my son is to go to the Labyrinth, and for my daughter, to do the mountain walk as described in Example One above. For both kids we'll take the train into town, walk to the destination, eat out at lunch, possibly see a movie and then return home again.

The Labyrinth is a human sized maze, one that I played in when I was a teenager and one that I am sure my son and I will have tons of fun in this summer.


If you have young kids like I do, or if they are a little bit older but are still keen to spend time with their parents, why not start a one-on-one annual tradition like this so that when they get older, you'll be able to still at least have one solid day of connection with them?


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    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Interesting, I hadn't thought about doing it when my kids had their own kids, but why not? Time will tell, thanks for visiting Das.

    • daskittlez69 profile image


      7 years ago from midwest

      That is a great ides Phil, hopefully you will continue that with your children throughout life.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks Simone.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      This is such a good idea! Fabulous Hub.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Jenn, I hope my two daughters stay close to me as you have with your dad, thanks for stopping by.

      Mouse, thanks for the votes.

    • hungrymouse profile image


      7 years ago from North America

      That's how to be a parent. Useful (up) and thanks for the wisdom.

    • Jennuhlee profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Awe how very sweet:] I love to read things like this, I am very close with my dad and always have been, and I believe it's because of all the one on on one time we spent together when I was a kid:]

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      josh, thanks for the votes. Maybe as an elementary school teacher you can share this idea with the parents you meet as a tremendous benefit to the future relationship the parents have with their kids.

    • .josh. profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a fantastic hub, and one that all parents would benefit from reading. As an elementary school teacher, I can attest to how excited kids get for 'one-on-one' time with their parents, likely hearing about it in the week prior, and reading about it in the week (or weeks) following.

      Good for you for doing this, Phil. Awesome and voted up.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Stephen, thanks - I'm glad I wrote it, but even more glad I am doing it.

      MM, I'm not up yet for something so extravagant, but perhaps once the kids are older I'll consider it.

    • miccimom profile image


      7 years ago from U.S.A

      I love the one-on-one idea. I also try to do something special with my kids. One year my daughter and I went on a cruise in NYC, she saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, and she was thrilled. Good Hub! Thanks for the tips!

    • Stephen Kalu profile image

      stephen kalu 

      7 years ago from Nigeria

      I was about writing hub on this topic before i came across it now. That's a good job well done.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks, fashion, much appreciated.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Super hub.This is great advice for parents!Thanks for helping parents.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Sally, thanks. I'm looking forward to this summer's - should be the last full week of August.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Super idea, and your sample days sound like such fun. Congrats to you and your kiddos!

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks prek, as they get older it may become trickier to find things to do as the children's interests change, but there should still be something to be found that can be done. I'll tackle this subject myself with a hub once my kids are teenagers, presuming I am still hubbing at that time.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      7 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA


      I LOVE this idea! It really is a great way to build those bonds that will be needed throughout the upcoming teen years!! My "children" are all young adults, but I may just see what I can do to adapt it to fit! Thanks for a great idea! I voted up, useful and awesome! By the way I really liked your examples. Good way to get people thinking about possibilities.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      LF, thanks so much, I just try to do my best with the kids and usually it turns out okay.

    • LadyFae profile image


      7 years ago from Under the Stars

      Wow, what a great father you are!!! Awesome and a vote up.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks, paradise. I am a middle child and did have moments through my childhood where my two siblings got more attention than I did. With this plan each child gets equal attention.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I really think this is a great idea. Sometimes, with multiple kids in the family, the littlest seems to get the most attention. It's really nice to do something with one kid by hin/herself. That makes the kid feel so very special, as he/she is.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks MC, I try to do my best as a parent. Why not more than one - it because I have only a limited number of vacation days from work and the vacation days I do have are usually spent with the whole family together.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Why not two days per year? Or what about three? Lol! These kinds of interactions between parent and child bear the sweetest fruit. I think you are a great parent.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I don't know when it opened. When I was a teenager it was called SOS Labyrinthe and it was on a different pier from where it is now.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      7 years ago from New England

      Great idea with gorgeous pictures that inspire! Do you know when the pictured "Labyrinthe" opened? I was in Montreal in the early 1990s one weekend. Would love to return, and to make sure I see out a labyrinth to walk with my family.

      If you are interested, I wrote a hub about labyrinths:

      Namaste :0)


    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks Apple, shopping hadn't occurred to me, mostly because I am not a shopper. When the girls get older, however, maybe it is something I will consider.

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is great advice for any parent! My dad did this with myself and my siblings when we were young (and still does to this day when we can). It makes the child feel very important, and to have quality time with a parent, alone, is priceless.

      My dad used to take us shopping on those days also, and let us buy any type of clothing we wanted. Being that it was modest, and age appropriate. But it could be any style or color, or fad. Enter my goth/punk phase. In any case it's a great way to help kids learn their own freedom of expression.

      Thanks for sharing - voted up as usual!

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Jacqui, great idea - ice cream is a kid's favourite, for sure. Thanks for the votes!

    • jacqui2011 profile image


      7 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      What a fantastic day, and something I am definitely going to do. We have a lot of family days out, but not a lot of just one on one time. Great ideas. Voted up and awesome. I'm planning to take my daughter a cycle in the countryside, stop for lunch and on the way home make a stop for some ice cream.


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