April 6, 2009

"Special Time"

When working with a family in my play therapy practice I will often encourage parents to schedule one-on-one time with their child on a weekly basis. It doesn’t have to be more than 15-30 minutes and it doesn’t have to involve something that costs money.

Simply spending time with your child without any distractions (phone, TV, other children) sends your child the message of how important they are to you and that you enjoy spending time with them. Let your child decide what you will do together be it a board game, reading to one another, etc. Don't engage in any passive activities like watching TV. Try to refrain from playing a video game.

I suggest parents put together a box of toys that are only used for this special time. You could include a deck of cards, a puzzle, building blocks, paper and crayons, toy cars, small dolls, action figures, a dish set. They should note this special time on the calendar just like other important events. Special time is unconditional and should not be taken away as a consequence for misbehavior.

Children want and need their parents undivided attention. Special time is easy to do and the rewards are priceless.

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