What if I told you that with ten minutes of your undivided attention:
- Your child will be more cooperative—more likely to pick up the toys when you ask them to or get their pajamas on at night.
- You’ll build trust in your relationship with your kid so they rely on you in the future when they’re in a bind and they need someone to talk to.
- You’ll have a huge impact on your child’s developing brain. For little ones and teens alike, whose brains are undergoing massive construction and REconstruction, you’ll help enhance their ability to make good decisions and support their social and emotional intelligence.
- You’ll learn what your child loves, what they dislike, what scares them, and how they see the world from where they stand.
- You also may notice increased affection, hopefulness, laughter, and an excitement about life you haven’t seen for a while.
With a tool called Special Time, you can have all of that.
Special Time is a one-on-one activity where you put your phone away, tell everyone else in the family you’re busy and spend real, quality time with your kiddo. The benefits of this are big. In fact, it can be considered a Super-Protective Factor.
According to ETR Associates, a super protector is “a feature of family life that may buffer young people from the many challenges and risks facing them in today’s world.”
In fact, the super-protective factor is the most powerful predictor that an adolescent will reach adulthood without experiencing teen pregnancy or violence, becoming addicted to drugs or tobacco, or dropping out of high school. Special Time can be that super protector.
With a regular practice of Special Time, you can watch your child grow into a compassionate, wise, cooperative human being, who learns how to make good decisions, understands the impact of his own behavior, and really cares for others.
And it doesn’t take much time! In fact, you can do it in ten minutes a day. But let’s shoot for just an hour a week in whatever chunks of time you choose.
Here’s how it works:
- Give it a name. Special Time is a fine name, but you can call it whatever you want. This time you spend with your child should have a name though, so they know it’s different than the other time you spend together.
- Use a timer. For a little one, you can do it in ten to fifteen minutes, but shoot for an hour a week. A timer helps you have an “outside” source who calls the time when it’s over and you don’t have to keep looking at the watch.
- Your child is in charge. During Special Time your child decides how you use the time. You get to decide how much time or money is spent, or whether it’s inside or outside today, but they get to choose what you do (within the limits of safety, reason, and time constraints).
- Relax. Don’t try to teach, instruct, or critique your child during Special Time. Pour in the love and attention and be delighted with what they decide and how they use their time with you.
- Give them your full attention. Put away your phone, don’t stir the pot on the stove, or pick the lint off the rug while you play on the floor, if that’s what your child chooses. Set aside all distractions so that you can really be with your child.
- One at a time. Special Time only works with one child, so make sure if you have more than one, your other children are occupied or cared for during this time. Special Time is is one of the best things you can do for siblings!
Try out Special Time this week…a little bit at a time. I’d love to hear how it goes!