Special Time

Just back from a whole weekend of Special time with my beautiful daughter. Now that my kids are teenagers, they are often off on their own adventures and I miss the days when they were little and wanted to be with me everyday and play with me all the time.  So I made a new resolution that every time my big kids wanted to connect with me, I would drop everything and give them my undivided attention. So when my daughter suggested we go away together for a girls weekend, I seized the chance and we have had the best time together.

Special time, also known as Present Time or Nondirective Child-Centered Play, is a beautiful practice that builds connection and provides us and our children with regular opportunities to spend quality time together without interruptions and distractions. Whether its 10 minutes, or an hour with a timer set or a whole weekend away, when we focus our presence on our child and follow their lead, their very legitimate needs for connection are met. Our lives are busy and we often don't have the support we need and our children need these regular reminders that we want to spend time and connect with them.

It can also be really helpful to remember that feelings will often come up for our children during or after Special Time, because they will have been reminded how safe and close to us they feel. Having this in our minds will help prepare us for tears once the timer goes off and we can then stay close, offer loving empathy and support them to get it all off their chests. We might say "I hear that you really want to keep playing with me, but I have to stop now. I am right here and listening to how you feel". They will then often have a big cry, release all their feelings that they have been carrying around with them and then return to feeling calm, connected and cooperative.

If we are struggling to get the motivation and enthusiasm for Special Time, then it's a sign we need some extra support too. So reach out to your listening partner, your Aware Parenting Instructor or your journal to share your frustration and overwhelm so that you can get back to parenting with as much love and connection as you want to offer.

So finding some time to regularly offer Special Time to our children supports their needs for connection and fun, to release their pent up stress and distress and for us all to find life easier and more enjoyable.

Aware Parenting with Joss

I am so passionate about sharing this beautiful approach with parents. I believe that Aware Parenting is THE solution for so many of the challenges facing the world. - Joss Goulden, Aware Parenting Instructor
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