One of the most encouraging things parents can do for their children is to spend regular, scheduled special time with them. You may already spend lots of time with your children. However, there is a difference between have to time, casual time, and scheduled special time.
There are several reasons why special time is so encouraging:
- Children feel a sense of connection when they can count on a special time with you. They feel that they are important to you. This decreases their need to misbehave as a mistaken way to find belonging and significance.
- Scheduled special time is a reminder to you about why you had children in the first place—to enjoy them.
- When you are busy and your children want your attention, it is easier for them to accept that you don’t have time when you say, “Honey, I can’t right now, but I sure am looking forward to our special time at 4:30.”
- Plan the special time with your children. Brainstorm a list of things you would like to do together during your special time. When first brainstorming your list, don’t evaluate or eliminate. Later you can look at your list together and categorize. If some things cost too much money, put them on a list of things to save money for. If the list contains things that take longer than the 10 to 30 minutes you have scheduled for the special time, put these items on a list that can be put on a calendar for longer family fun times.