One-on-one special time with your kids:
The why, the how, and an awesome list to get you started.
I have 2 high-energy, very INTENSE children (plus a baby sister that seems to be following suit!). This generates a lot of fun, exhaustion, and creativity at our house. I’ve found myself investing more in parenting resources than I would’ve expected of myself, prior to having kids. One thing I recently purchased was Amy McCready’s, “Positive Parenting Solutions” premium package. (Oh la la…)
One of her main tools is called, mind-body-and-soul time. It’s ten minutes of one-on-one time with your child doing something he or she want to do. The key is to be fully present with them and show them that they matter. Amy advises doing this with each of your children twice daily– which, I think, is a challenge! However, when our kids have their “attention bucket” full, they tend to whine less, fight-back, and misbehave. Instead, they have a sense of power and fulfillment. Makes sense, right? I figure it’s worth doing!
So I tried it. I like it! I did find that I needed some strategies to make it a success. Otherwise, I was putting it off and it just wasn’t happening. Here’s what I found that helped me:
- I decided to do one kid each day at the same time– I figured out a time that works well with naps, school, mood etc. Then I set an alarm to remind me to put the baby down for a nap, and then start “special time” (as we call it at our house)! …So, here’s where I admit that I’m not following the two times a day recommendation: I just do one kid during the day, and then stories and pillow talk at night. It seems to be enough for us!
- Predetermine what to do with the other kids so they won’t interrupt. Ideally, the other sibling might be at school, practice, or nap time , but if not, here’s what I use for some ideas: play on the tablet. color. quiet time activities. have them go outside. jobs. read a book in their room.
- Put together a list of activities you will be motivated to do with him or her. This is big. You, the momma, only get a few golden minutes each day that are uninterrupted! You have to have activities in mind that don’t feel like a total waste of the precious few minutes you have! Enjoy the time with your child; it’s a few minutes of the day where you are totally off the hook from getting anything done- just relax and be a kid!
I came up with this list, separated by mood. You can print it out (handy printable will be available soon!), or use it as a springboard to create your own with your child. Have fun with it!
- eat a special snack together and talk about favorite healthy snacks mom can get at the store for her.
- bake cookies, bread, or another treat that they like.
- look in the fridge together and let the child decide what’s for dinner. Let them help prepare the meal.
- picnic outside- talk about favorite things outside.
- go on a walk or bike ride
- jump on the trampoline, basketball, jump-rope, or whatever you have in your yard 🙂
- plant something
- sidewalk chalk/hopscotch
- play in the snow in winter/ water in summer 🙂
Play with toys:
- puppets, dolls, action figures
- puzzle, board game
- go through the toy box and decide to donate some, and reward him for sharing.. Connect with him as you go, not focused on the task as much as you are connecting with him.
- make a fort
- blocks, legos
- nerf gun war
- write letters to friends or family
- color or paint
- make something out of a cardboard box like a rocketship or a car
- make an elf or fairy garden
- flash cards with prizes
- science projects
- teach them about geography (where they live in relation to the world)
- read books: “look-and-find”, listen to a book on cd while mom rubs child’s back, chapter books.
- at home spa treatments like: pedicures, makeover, massage, facial
- yoga, guided meditation for kids (on youtube!)
Out and About:
- play together at the park
- shop for something the child wants
- museum, play place, bowling, mini-golf, frozen yogurt etc.
- play catch or frisbee
- pillow fight or tickle fight
- paper airplanes, see who goes farthest
- look through family photos
- obstacle course
- have your child teach you a game they learned in school (hand-clapping, don’t eat pete)
- Pretend! (can actually be really fun if you get into it!)
We’ve been doing “special time” for about 6 months now and I’ll give you my total honest thoughts on it:
I think it’s worth doing. I know I’m creating great memories and building a relationship with my kids. There are few things in life that are more important than that.
Has it changed their behavior? It’s hard to say. We still have a lot to work on! We have tantrums, we have kids that don’t listen the first (and second) time, right now we have some anger issues. But, I know it could be worse; we’ve been there! Amy McCready’s full system incorporates roughly 6 other tools and– that reminds me!– I should probably hop back into her website and make sure I’m using all of her helpful tools. (I will post an honest review of her PPS package the site, so subscribe to emails if you’d like to be notified when I post that!)
I can say though, that one-on-one special time helps me to handle the hard moments with confidence and security. I feel connected to my child, and that does 2 things: I feel like I have an enhanced sense to know what they need from me; and the bonding time carries me through the “you’re-drivin’-me-crazy” times!
Do you do one-on-one time with your kids? Ever tried Amy McCready’s system before? What do you think about it?