Time with our child can be precious, never-ending, trigger loaded, met with off track behaviour or simply prevent less ticks off the endless to-do list. We need ways to show our care without feeling like we are or should spend idle time playing with our child. We need a way to fill our child’s cup quickly and have her separate with ease. We need a way to make that important phone call and have our child behave. But most of all we need a way for our child to feel adored by us amidst the busyness and the schedule, the friends and the siblings, our work and our demands. Special Time is the answer. When my child lost feeling attached to me, as I wrote about here, it was through regular Special Time that I rebuilt my connection with her. Yet Special Time can begin in babyhood, and serves to keep our child’s cup full regardless of whether there are any difficulties or not. Special time is a dedicated time when you dote on your child. It can be as few as two minutes or as many as half an hour, although I suggest you begin with around ten minutes. You put a timer on and this is the key piece that often people omit, myself included at the start. But infact the timer gives a boundary, gives an end which your child will come to understand and gives you the knowing that your presence here is finite. So what do you do in special time? You literally follow whatever it is your child wants to do and the most important thing is to ADMIRE your child and enjoy being PRESENT with her. So you make mumblings following whatever it is she is doing, you stroke her hair, you make eye contact. You make no suggestions and simply follow your child’s lead. Children relish being the leader for once. Your child directs their Special time. They may move from some pretty simple activity, to a snuggle and story, game or acting out of something that is bothering them. Through Special Time we can get a direct insight into how our child is doing. Ideally if you have more than one child, you do special time with each of them privately. Special Time morphs into not so special time when siblings are around, although it can be possible to make a much shorter time of two minutes or so with each child in this case. With one child, special time is equally as important, if not to give our child the chance of free play and us space outside of special time. When the timer goes off, you hug and kiss your child, thanking him for a wonderful special time together and saying how you look forward to the next on such a date. After a lovely time together it can be hard for some children to depart from special time. ‘I’m so sorry that special time is over’ can be hard to accept. However, by holding the limit, and after feeling fully connected with you, your child has a chance to feel upset over this small futility within the safety of your care. You can be amazed at how she will emerge more free, creative, cooperative or expressive after allowing this outpouring. After special time I have witnessed incredible things. Long ago memories recalled, beautiful illustrations, willingness and ease of temperament and prized information that is only shared as a result of feeling close through Special Time. I leave you with one of my favourite Special Time stories. We had Special Time, the first in a few weeks. It’s a glorious sunny day and she carries on blowing bubbles in the garden for the entire 12 minutes.
It was magical. I watched and noticed each stream of bubbles, admiring how she made their size and colour and direction.
She even said ‘do you love my bubbles?’ in affirmation of my attention. I guess for her, my marvel at her bubbles was a way of realizing that she is indeed loved.
I had been so ratty with her in the mornings and after school and at bedtime. When our special time arrived I could truly admire her and her bubbles, without feeling the previous negativity. As the bells went off, she declared ‘let's do this again in our next Special Time!’
Then a few minutes later she reveals a prized remark that opened an important conversation which would have laid unspoken but for Special Time.
I encourage you to try Special Time with your child and would love to hear how you get on.
Okay so this was the one practice that was pivotal for me, but I also draw from a host of other key practices which I would love to help you use to reap the benefits. I will be sharing more practical tools to make parenting easier and healthy food tricks, plus a big dose of nurture and nourishment for yourself, be sure to check out the Gaia Retreat happening on Saturday 29th June 2019. I would love to welcome you.
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