“Special time is priceless because it symbolizes the parent’s unconditional love for the child.” – B.J. Howard
One of the best things that parents can do for their children is to spend special time together. Research has proven that special time is good for your child’s wellbeing and development.
In this article, we’ll discuss why is special time good for your child and some tips that you could do to make special time even more special.
What is special about special time?
Here are several reasons special time is highly encouraged by parenting experts:
- Special time reconnects you with your child, and in turn, helps build a strong nurturing relationship.
- Special time is an opportunity for the child to experience the parent’s full, undivided, and loving attention.
- Likewise, special time is a chance for parents to actively listen to their children and learn about their likes, dislikes, worries, frustrations, etc.
- Special time helps build the foundation of trust between the parent and child.
- It gives the child a chance to work through his emotions, such as feeling helpless, by flipping the roles, and allowing your child to lead.
Make special time work for you and your child with these 7 easy strategies.
1. Spend a consistent, short amount of time (10-15 mins).
Active listening, imitation, or description, may take a lot of energy and focus. So if you’re doing a special time for the first time, you can begin with at least 5 minutes of play that your child chooses. Label your special times by calling them in the most special way – your child’s name! Calling it something like “Zoe Time” or “Mommy and Blake’s Time” will make them feel special and loved.
Try to make your special time happen at the same time every day. It will be enjoyable for both of you if you choose a time that is most convenient for you, so there will be no distractions or interruptions.
2. Let your child choose what to do. No need to prepare activities!
Many parents worry about planning activities for special time with their kids. But you don’t need to! Let your child choose the activity. You’ll be surprised at the creative ideas they come up with.
Giving your child the chance to lead, even if for just a few moments each day, will help build their confidence and encourage them to be more independent.
3. Keep special time separate from other times together, and don’t use it for screen time.
If you’re also teaching your child, or if you work from home and spend the entire day together, this is different from a special time. And most importantly, don’t use it for screen time.
A simple rule for special times: NO screens, NO workbooks, NO structured activities. Just show up and connect with your child!
4. Give special time every day. Don’t withhold it as a punishment.
Even if your child is having a bad day or is misbehaving, have your special time. This is a chance for your child to get praise or positive responses from you and shows your child that you will always love him no matter his behavior.
5. Give special time separately to each child.
If you have more than one child, it’s best to create a schedule so each sibling will know if their special time is coming up. It’s important to give special time separately because children, even if they are siblings, are unique individuals. So each parent should have special time with each child.
6. Don’t interrupt the special time by making phone calls or turning your attention away to something else.
Setting your mobile phone to silent mode or taking your phone off the hook gives a special emphasis that what you’re doing with your child is special and should not be interrupted.
7. Don’t worry about whether you’re “doing it right”.
Special time is a chance for you to appreciate your child’s uniqueness and strengths. Use this time to listen, get to know them better, and simply enjoy being with your child, without worrying about whether or not you’re “doing it right”.
Once you get into the habit of spending special time with your child, you’ll see how your relationship will grow stronger and you’ll find parenting more enjoyable.