Special time can transform your relationship with your child. It is a simple positive discipline tool that can take as little as 10 minutes a day. Your child will begin to listen and cooperate more. In this video you will learn how to implement special time in a way that will get you the best results.
Hi, I’m Ramona with Encouraging Discipline. I bring you tools and support to help you develop more consciousness in your life so you can become more calm and confident in your parenting most of the time.
When we are clear on our values and know how to detach compassionately, we find it easier to create and hold boundaries that make us and our children feel more secure and connected. If you’re new here, make sure you subscribe to my channel and visit encouragingdiscipline.
com for more articles, freebies, and to find out how you can work with me. And while you’re there, make sure you join my email list so we can keep in touch. In this video I will explain how special time works and how to implement it, from how much time is needed, to who does what, and how to troubleshoot when things don’t go according to your plan.
So let’s get straight into it. Have you ever said or heard any of these: my child is defiant, he won’t listen to me, I have to ask him 20 times to do something and he just ignores me. Or my daughter’s friends matter to her more than her family or my son doesn’t share with his brother.
What do all these statements have in common? It’s a child who does not behave according to his or her parents expectations. In Dr. Jane Nelsen’s words, “a misbehaving child is a discouraged child.” So how can we encourage a child so we can get rid of their misbehavior and get more cooperation? By creating connection.
And how do we do that? One way is to give children attention. Our children crave our attention. Unfortunately the demands of our daily lives leave us running on empty. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have any more time in the day for any extra thing to do.
But today I want you to give special time a chance. This positive discipline tool will gain you so much time, you won’t believe it. Now why do our children crave our attention so much? It’s because to them attention equals love, significance, and importance.
When we give our children the attention they need, they feel more connected to us and they feel like they matter. Therefore they’re more likely to listen to us and do things for us when we ask them. And they do what we ask them not because they’re afraid of us, but because they value our relationship and they want to please us.
Now you may already be spending time with your child: you read to him, you take him to the park, you run errands together, you talk to him about what he did in school, you have a bedtime routine, you have dinner together, you may even play a game of Monopoly every now and then.
And all these are great opportunities to be fully present and infuse connection with your child. But here’s how special time is different. It is not mandatory time spent on things you have no choice but doing.
This is where I include the driving together, taking them to sports classes, or doing homework together. And it’s not casual time, such as reading or having dinner together or talking about their day.
Special time is a scheduled time that the child is looking forward to. It is a time that you interact mindfully and you both truly enjoy. You have to be fully present for this experience and by that I mean you’re not cooking dinner while you’re talking with your child, and you’re not checking your phone during your game of Monopoly, if that’s what your child’s choosing for special time.
You’re fully immersed and present in the moment, just as your child is. Now why does special time work? It is effective because children feel that they’re important to us. We’re willing to dedicate this time to just them.
Also the reversal of the roles, which I’ll talk about later, satisfies the children’s need for power. It helps them to feel accepted by the parent and it gives them the opportunity to bring up unresolved issues that challenge them.
Here are only some of the benefits of doing special time with your child: it strengthens your relationship, it’s healing for the child, children thrive in our loving presence and full acceptance, it reminds us why we love our children.
Let’s see how it works. First you eliminate all distractions: silence your phone and put it out of sight, turn off the stove, make sure siblings will not interrupt. They can be in someone else’s care preferably.
Do what you have to do to ensure that your time will not be interrupted. Secondly each child receives special time individually. The third point is to decide on a limited amount of time and set a timer.
Fourth, your child is in charge and decides what you will play and what the rules are. This is very important. And the final requirement is to be fully present and enjoy this time with your child. How much time is needed for special time? When children are very young, they may not understand the concept of spending a dedicated time together, but after the age of two you can start special time with them.
And here’s a guideline for how much time children need at different ages: between the ages of 2 and 6, a minimum of 10 minutes daily is recommended. between the ages of 7 and 12 at least 30 minutes per week, for children 13 and up at least once a month.
Now of course your children would love more than that and if you have the time and stamina, by all means give it to them. But if it’s hard for you to find more time in your day, aim for the minimum that’s recommended here.
These are recommendations from the Positive Discipline tools developed by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott. Now here are some tips to set yourself up for success. Pick an amount of time you know you can stick with, okay.
Once you have decided on what you can offer, communicate this to your child and set a timer to show that you are not allowing anything to get in the way. Number two, choose a time of week and day when you know you can be relaxed and enjoy this time with your child.
Let’s see who does what during special time. Let your child know that she is in charge and she gets to choose how to spend this time with you. You want your child to look forward to your time together and this is a good way to do it.
Children spend most of their day following our directions. They love the reversal of the roles, where they get to be in charge. Not only do they get a kick out of bossing us around, but by giving our child the power, we get to learn about what he likes to do and play, which changes all the time.
And we also learn about issues with friends or things that bother him. When our child feels safe, thoughts and emotions that need to be resolved will very likely come up. The most important rule is refrain from trying to solve problems, correcting, or directing the play in any way.
Your child is the playwright, the director, the actor, and you’re just the sidekick or the camera person. Your only responsibility as a parent is to keep everyone safe. Beyond that, you just immerse yourself in your child’s play and let him know how much you’re enjoying this time with him.
Look at your child with a beginner’s eye, try to hear the way he speaks, see the way he moves, as if you see him for the first time in a long while. Soak it all in. Your child will sense your enthusiasm and thrive on it.
Here are some of the frequent questions I get from parents. What if I’m a single parent and I can’t find the time to do this individually? And this may be hard for a single parent of multiple children or for a parent who’s by herself or himself with the children for the majority of the day.
You’ll have to be creative to find ways to spend a few minutes at a time with each child. Here are some ideas for how to schedule your special time. You can ask someone to come over to watch one of the children while you’re spending time with the other and then switch.
Or if one of your children goes to bed before the other, you have a little window before bedtime. But this shouldn’t replace the bedtime routine. If one of your children wakes up before the other, you can use that time, or if one child naps but the other one doesn’t, this is a perfect chunk of time that you can take advantage of.
Another idea is if your children are in school for different times, then there is a gap there that you can use. If this is impossible, then you can involve both children, but you have to make it very clear whose special time it is and who makes the rules.
You will have to train the other child to follow the rules and decisions that are given to both of you. Another question that I get is, what if my child has a meltdown when the time is up because she’s not ready to stop playing? And this does happen.
Well, many times children will not be ready to stop playing. This can happen for two reasons: one is that t they’re so thirsty for our attention, that what we were able to give them was not enough to fill their cup.
Another reason is that they have some big feelings that have to come out and heal and the safety that we offered them during special time allows them to become vulnerable enough to open up and heal those feelings in our loving presence.
So what do we do? We connect by empathizing, allowing, and accepting. We welcome all emotions as they come. There’s no real need to ask the child what his tears were about. Children are not always able to identify what causes their big feelings.
Just know that once they’re out, they’re most probably resolved. So allow the feelings, validate them, but stick to the rules. “Time is up, I know, it’s tough, I wish we could keep playing together too.
Let’s do this again tomorrow.” Here’s a tip: if you notice that your child frequently has an emotional, you know, reaction at the end of the special time, make sure you build that time in. So let’s say you have 30 minutes that you can spare every Saturday, and you notice that your kid’s meltdown lasts for about 20 minutes.
Then you offer 10 minutes for special time and, when it ends, you can expect to spend another 20 minutes welcoming your child’s emotional healing process. And with time the emotional moments will decrease and slowly disappear.
Know that they’re also part of connection building. It’s not a bad thing for your child to be disappointed that special time is up. Your child will feel closer to you if you receive the emotions with empathy.
Spending this dedicated time together will help your child to grow more attached to you and it will build more trust. With time you will notice that your child will get along better with his siblings and friends, he will become more cooperative, will listen more, and will share more of what’s going on with him.
When our children feel like they matter and are securely attached to us, they value our relationship and are willing to invest more in it. I know it may feel hard right now to try special time. It may feel like more time and energy that you have to invest in raising your children, but trust me, trust the process, your investment will come back tenfold.
Give it a try and let me know what the results are. I would love to hear. You can email me at the email address in the video description. I hope you found this helpful. Please share the video with your friends and family and don’t forget to subscribe to this channel by clicking the subscribe button below and the notification bell so you know when new videos come out.
See you next time!