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!

For more information and tips, check out: What's So Special About Special Time? and Guidelines for Special Time