Every minute we share with our children is special, but with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, how much of this time do we actually give our full commitment and attention.
How many times has your child asked you to look at something like a wonderful Lego invention or a magnificent art masterpiece? You tell them how amazing it is without taking a second to stop and appreciate their effort. Not because you don’t appreciate it, but you are simply trying to complete copious tasks at the one time. Cooking dinner, sorting laundry, helping an older sibling with homework, preparing lunches for next day, replying to a text/email. And the list goes on!
This blog is not to add more guilt to the never-ending shame we place on ourselves for not being able to live up to the perfect family life that is portrayed in photos of every social media platform. This is in fact a small strategy that will help make things that little bit easier…
What makes this time so special?
- “Special time” is a powerful tool that nurtures the parent-child relationship.
- It promotes your child’s emotional well-being, coping skills and attachment security. It also provides your child with the feeling that they are the most important person in your world!
- This time is all about your child taking the lead, they get to choose the activity, have exclusive one to one time and of course have your undivided attention.
How long should special time last?
- 10 -15 minutes each day is ample time, as any longer you may find difficult to maintain your child’s attention. Also if you have more than one child it can be challenging dividing your time.
Benefits of Special Time!
- You get to know their likes/dislikes. If something is troubling them, this is a great opportunity for them to perhaps portray it in a different manner if they don’t feel like talking about it.
- It builds the foundation for trust between parent and child. Allowing for a more secure bond, something that you will want to retain as they get older.
- Being given the opportunity to choose, helps children with the process of decision making. Although it may be necessary to provide a few options as some ideas may not be realistically achievable or can prove to be a little overwhelming.
- This also helps children with the concept of time… ‘when is our special time?’ ‘How long does it last?’ It teaches them that sometimes we may just have to wait for certain things. It is useful to perhaps give your child a warning of when this time is nearly over, so it just doesn’t suddenly end.
- This gives you the opportunity to support your child’s learning. Not by instructing or directing play but by encouraging learning through play. For example, by simply commenting on their actions, ‘You put the small red brick beside the big blue brick’. Not only does this promote language development, it incorporates colours, size and prepositions.
It is not always possible to get this one on one time. Life can throw in many challenges, it is important that we don’t punish ourselves too much over this. If you don’t get an opportunity during the day, bedtime is also a wonderful opportunity to get this time. Relaxing over a story of their choice and then simply talking about their day….
Best of all, it’s fun spending time together. Forget about the mundane responsibilities of daily life and simply enjoy each other’s company.