We are loving Special Time in our house at the moment. It's such a cool tool that I thought I would tell you about it too! It is one of a number of tools from a parenting ... um... what? A parenting guidance system? Like GPS for parenting?!! Not sure. Anyway it is based on listening and connection which fits with how I see parenting so we have been dabbling in it for a while.
Anyway as part of my word of the year I have been focussing on nourishing my children and having a go at using some of these tools as part of that. I haven't got it down consistently and I can see the benefit of using the tools more than we do but yeah the last 6 weeks we have been working at doing Special Time with the children. So the idea is that for 5 mins to an hour max your child is in complete control, they get to choose the activity, they make the rules (you can lay some ground rules to make it work for your family like not going anywhere in the car or not spending more than £5 or whatever, if you feel you need to add those but we haven't needed to as yet).
So you give your child your undivided attention. No toilet stops. No drinks. No phones. No picking fluff off the carpet (it's amazing how tempting this becomes sometimes!!). Do all that before or after. This activity requires your full attention on the child. This is why they suggest not more than an hour!!
We have been lucky in that our children's choices have been quite tame and exactly what they each need. I've heard stories of children asking their parents to do some crazy stuff and there has been the occasional special time that has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit (W getting me to do mini parkour with him at a play park for instance!) but generally they ask for things that I can give them and don't mind spending 10 minutes of my time doing that for them.
It's amazing how inventive they become. Seeing my boys come up with ideas of things they would like us to do together is beautiful and inspiring. And it really helps. They are happier when we do Special Time. They play better together. It's tricky at the moment to find time to do Special Time. We are adapting to Andy working more hours after a winter of being together as a family lots. We have to have 2 adults around so that little Teddy is safe while one if us devotes out full attention to each of them in turn. It's hard to make time, to prioritise this in our busy days and yet it's almost ridiculous that we don't prioritise it more because life is so much easier when we do!!!
I love how each year the word I choose leads me down paths I never expected. Who would have though that 'nourish' would bring such a simple yet powerful activity into our lives!?! I find that each word has it's own lessons to teach me beyond what I expected. I love it! And I love special time too! :)