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Special Time

Resource Type

Parent Handouts and Info - Parent


Special time is a good way give individual attention to your child and improve your relationship. Some helpful suggestions on how to do special time are given.


All Ages

Age Groups

Preschool/Kindergarten (3-5), School Age (6-12)

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Special Time

Special Time

Every child wants to have their caregiver's love. One main way the child knows they are loved is when they get individual attention. You may feel that you spend lots of time with your child. But if you are doing chores or are interrupted by phone calls while playing, your child may feel neglected. Also if you are always trying to teach them or tell them what to do during playtime, your child may also feel overlooked. Some children want so much attention that they have a tantrum when you have to do other things. This is especially true when a child is jealous of attention you give to their brother and sisters. A good way to improve your relationship with your child is to have individual time that can be called Special Time. Special Time represents undivided love to the child. The following are some rules for Special Time that help it work well to strengthen relationships.

  1. Give Special Time every day no matter what. If your child has acted badly, don't take Special Time away as a punishment.
  2. Try to have Special Time at the same time every day. It is better to do Special Time before your child has gets ready for bed. Otherwise, the choice of activities is limited too much.
  3. Give this time a name- like Special Time or Play Time - so that your child can look forward to it and also know when they have it.
  4. Within reason, do an activity that the child chooses. But do not allow watching TV or movies to be Special Time because they don't focus attention on your child. If your child refuses Special Time this usually means they don't believe you really want to be with them. Be patient and don't take it personally. Try following your child around for that time until he or she is willing to play with you.
  5. If you tend to be a constant teacher, try just watching your child play and making comments about what they are doing. Stay away from telling them what to do or asking any questions. For instance, you might say, "You are building such a tall tower!".
  6. Keep the time short - 10-15 minutes and the same amount every day. if you promise too long a time you won't be able to give it every day. Don't save up Special Time from missed days or it will become impractical and you will resent it.
  7. Don't allow Special Time to be interrupted. Don't take phone calls or questions from others. If you have more than one child to spend time with, have Special Time with one while the other waits their turn by watching a video. If there are two adults, each can do Special Time with one then switch. It is best for each child and adult to get Special Time every day. But sometimes alternating days may have to do.
  8. Time it with a timer that makes a sound so it looks like the timer ended Special Time, not you. End when the timer goes off and act disappointed that it is over.
  9. If the child gets aggressive and needs a time out during Special Time, keep the timer going.

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