My very first post on Mommy Convos after our launch was this topic of One-on-One “special time” with our kids. This topic is one I think a lot about, so I added more info to this article; plus we now have two super-helpful (and beautiful!) printables for you to enjoy. You will love them! We’ve put together ten key tips to make one-on-one time a sucess, and a super-cool idea generator to help you come up with the perfect activity to do together, depending on your mood!
Subsribe here, and we’ll email them to you!
So, what IS One-on-One “Special Time”?
“Special time” is an effective parenting tool, introduced to me through the acclaimed Amy McCready’s, “Positive Parenting Solutions” online course. Let me tell you a bit more:
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 ever would’ve expected of myself, prior to having kids. One of my favorite parenting products I’ve purchased is the “Positive Parenting Solutions” premium package. (Oh la la…)
One of her main tools is called mind-body-and-soul time, or “special time”, as we call it at our house. 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 , fight-back, and misbehave LESS! Instead, they have a sense of power and fulfillment. It’s all based off of Adlarian Psychology, and it makes sense, right? I figure it’s worth doing!
So I tried it. I liked it!
I found that I needed some strategies to make special time a success. Otherwise, I was putting it off and it just wasn’t happening. Here’s my main 3 tactics that helped me when starting out:
- 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” … 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! *UPDATE: our schedule has changed now with baby sister being awake at our best time. So, it now looks like this: My alarm goes off at 9:30 every morning- if chores are done by the alarm, they get a coin. Then we transition to special time for one kid while the other does a fun little worksheet. …Which leads me to my next point I found crucial as I was starting out:
- 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!
The “Perfect Printable”:
If you’d like a printable copy of our one-on-one time activity idea generator, please subscribe and we’ll email it over! We really hope it ends up being a big success for you, like it has for me (and Tiff, our site designer and curator)! So, we ALSO made a printable that has our top ten tips that have been key for us to make it a success!
I came up with this activity list, separated by mood. You can grab our printable by subscribing, or use the list 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 9 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? *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!
*UPDATE: I have seen that when I am giving my kiddos my time and attention in positive ways, it is an investment and we do have less need for the power-struggles. I’d rather spend the ten minutes in a proactive, pleasant interaction with my little girl, than a ten-minute talk-her-down-from-a-tantrum session. There have been several times over the past months where we’re having a hard day with kids being out-of-control, and I can usually pinpoint that I haven’t really given that child the attention in a way that they feel valued and appreciated. So- be sure to check out the printables to help you make it a success for both you and your child. I now think it’s a total must!
Amy McCready’s full system incorporates several other tools and so sometimes I need to remind myself that there’s more to this “parenting thing” than just giving my kids one-on-one attention! I have loved being a premium member of PPS- it’s totally changed my mom experience for the way-better! If you ever want to make sure you’re being the best parent you can be, I would definitely recommend checking out this free webinar– she shares some great info and ideas that are so helpful!
Early on, I noticed 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’s so important! With “special time”, 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?