A Special Time success story from a Hand in Hand parent
Special Time is a one-on-one parent child interaction for a limited amount of time during which the child directs the activity and the adult follows the child's lead with warmth and full, relaxed attention.
For our third Special Time, my 6-year-old daughter said she wanted to play “Tickle Time” (in which she tickles me until I beg for mercy – read here on why it's not a great idea to tickle kids) again for the third week in a row! But when we went to her room to play, she started jumping on her bed. I kept thinking that she was going to either break the bed or fall off and get hurt, but I contained my worries and let her do it exactly as she wanted. I patiently sat on the side of her bed and watched.
It was amazing how much fun she was having jumping up in the air and trying to touch her toes like a cheerleader. After a while, I asked her if she wanted me to jump with her. She said, “No,” that she just wanted me to watch her, so I sat back and watched and made silly comments to make us laugh. She jumped for almost 15 minutes before getting tired and falling down on the bed in exhaustion. She caught her breath and then began to tickle me until I laughed so hard and “pleaded” for mercy. She returned to jumping on the bed, and then we ended our Special Time with her “flying” on my legs in the airplane game.
Ending Special Time is always difficult for my daughter because she is having so much fun and wants to stay connected to me and she often resists, but once she had a chance to settle down and transition from playtime, she followed me upstairs to my room where I was putting laundry away.
Her mood changed to a serious one, and she told me how much she loved me, and how she never wanted anyone in our family to die unless we all died together at the same time.
She said she didn’t want me to die early like my friend had done a couple of weeks earlier, and she broke down crying and sobbing in my arms. I listened.
I am absolutely amazed at the powerful effects that Special Time has on my relationship with my daughter, and also in helping her address things that are bothering her. I have been telling everyone I know lately, who has kids, about this great activity and how powerful it can be in building relationships with children.
This free video series will help you get started with Special Time at your house.
The science behind Hand in Hand's five tools is explained in Listen: Five Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges, and gives 100's of real-life examples of the tools in action.