When talking to families about special time, parents often respond, "I already spend all day with my children" or "We have lots of one-on-one time together." I love hearing when parents are able to be home and enjoy spending time with their children! I also wanted to highlight some of ways that "special time" differs from other one on one time and the benefits it can offer to ALL families – whether you are home with your children all day or not.
What is Special Time?
Child-directed one-on-one playtime between a parent and child. It is time you set apart in your day specifically to be with your child. As it becomes a pattern in your home, they will recognize it by the title- whether you call it "special time" or whether you name it after your child. (ex. "Johnny time")
Why have Special Time?
- Strengthens your relationship and builds
- trust with your child
- Helps your child feel loved and appreciated
- Gives insight into your child's view of the world
- Can help improve your child's behaviors
- Provides a safe environment for your child to
- share their feelings with you
Where to start?
- Tell your child you want to spend more time with them.
- Invite them to pick out what they would like to do with you. OR, here are some tips for adapting special time with a baby.
- If you have other children, plan your special time when they are napping or being cared for by someone else.
- Let your child know when and how long your special time will be – one of the great things about special time is the flexibility to it. Maybe some days you'll only have time for 5 minutes, but other days you may have 20.
- Use a timer to introduce limits to your special time.
- Get down on their level and do whatever it is they've chosen to do (That being said, safety limits are still important).
- Avoid distractions such as cell phones, TV, etc.
- Sometimes your child's feelings will come out through play. Check out these tips for how to describe their play activities and help them identify their feelings.
- Be engaged during your time with them and when the timer is up, let them know how much fun you had.
- Have fun – make memories!