Five Minutes Makes a Difference


I’ve known for an embarrassingly long period of time that our days would be sooo much better if I could find a way to have special time with my oldest son first thing in the morning. It’s been a challenge because my husband leaves early and I’m on my own with three boys, rushing to get them all ready for their days. Oh yeah, and I have  to get myself ready as well!  In addition, my boys don’t generally wake up on their own either so I always have to get them up.

take five minutes with your childA few days ago, my oldest son woke up on his own and before his brothers. I was in the shower when he barged in and yelled, “YOU DIDN’T WAKE ME UP!”

I said, “Good morning!” with a big smile on my face.

“YOU DIDN’T WAKE ME UP!” he accused me again.

I said, “I’m just in the shower, and I was going to let you sleep and wake you when I was out.”


Ahhh! Now I got it. He was upset because I hadn’t woken him up, as I had promised I would, when I got home late the night before. He always asks me to wake him up when I get home, if I wasn’t there when he went to sleep. Though I promise to, I generally just give him a kiss and tell him I’m home. Very rarely does he wake up. But now at least knew what he was talking, or yelling, about.

Somewhere inside me I mustered up some patience and a relaxed tone, and said, “How about we do five minutes of ST [Special Time] before your brothers wake up?” He stopped for a moment and then started whining and yelling at me about how you couldn’t do anything in five minutes. I repeated my offer with the same relaxed tone. He calmed down and took me up on it. I said, “If you can very quietly sneak back into your room and get yourself dressed without waking up your brothers, I’ll go get dressed as well, and I’ll meet you in the living room for five minutes of ST before they wake up.”

By now he was getting into it. He had a smile on his face, and he snuck into his room very quietly and got dressed without waking anyone. When we met in the living room, I set the timer for five minutes and pressed the “start” button. He immediately started yelling at me not to start yet because we hadn’t figured out what we were doing. I said calmly, “I’m sure you’ll come up with something soon.” He whined for about 30 seconds and then said, “Let’s make Topps Attack cards!” I agreed, and asked what we needed. He instructed me to bring paper and scissors and a specific kind of marker. Then told me how to cut the paper, and we each worked on a card. He did Babe Ruth, and I did Cy Young. He told me what to write and where, and he drew my picture of Cy Young because we agreed that he would do a much better job. I must admit that when we started the five minutes, it really did seem like we wouldn’t have time for anything, but in the end we had produced two baseball cards and one much more connected kid! It was fabulous!

The rest of the morning went so much more smoothly than normal. I didn’t have to ask him multiple times to brush his teeth, get his backpack, etc. He was cooperative and even kind to his brothers. Even that evening he was more easygoing and, most amazingly, said “Thank you!” to his father at least once. For him, this is HUGE. I haven’t made another morning ST work yet, but I now realize how little time it really takes, which makes the goal seem more attainable.

~ Tosha Schore, Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor and Co-Author of Listen:Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges 
Messy Loud Real-Life ParentingDo you want more suggestions on how to use Special Time? Check out our free video series. In the first video, you’ll get a step by step guide to using Special Time and some fun examples of what it can look like. Get your videos now.



11 thoughts on “Five Minutes Makes a Difference

  1. Beautiful. This reminds me of the many “special time”, child-led experiences I’ve had with my three children… With two of them teens now, this time is still hugely important. And it’s still about me dropping everything I might be doing when they want to be with me (if at all possible) and just focusing on them.

    • Thanks for sharing this, Janet! And thanks for the reminder that kids still need this time as they get older. Please feel free to share our article How Special Time Works with Teens if you come across parents who might like some ideas for connecting with their “big kids”.

  2. I just started doing this with my twins. I have always tried to give them alone time with me, but without help, it’s pretty impossible. But, then I realized it didn’t need to be hours of special time, 5 or 10 minutes made a HUGE difference! I loved this post….and could totally relate (even to the whining etc.). 🙂 I just found your blog through Janet Lansbury & am very glad I did!

    • Welcome, Gina! We’re happy to have you with us. Special Time with twins is a challenge. So glad you are finding little ways to make it work.

  3. Pingback: Why The Whining? (And 4 Steps To Eventual Peace) | Janet Lansbury

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  5. Tosha has a way of connecting with her boys that, if it could be patented, would make parenting (and growing up) happier for everyone. This blog gives a good picture of what it can be like. I’m just sayin’…and I’m her mother!!! She’s taught me a thing or two;)

  6. Thank you for this inspiring post! My kids and I have been talking about, planning for, and trying to make time for….Special Time (ST). (You get the idea. We talk a good game but we aren’t actually having much Special Time.) Your post reminded me that we don’t need hours or even one hour to make it work. I think it will take some adjustment in our expectations, but we should try bite size ST sessions. I have never used a timer (and my kids would also worry about the time ticking away), but I’m going to try to see if that will avoid arguments when ST is over. As always, I appreciate your touching but also PRACTICAL parenting support.

  7. I love the idea of super special time together. I only have one child so far (a toddler) and we have been waiting to start trying for number two for many reasons, but the main reason being that I’m afraid of getting torn in so many directions with two kids. I love the idea of scheduling some special time with each child. I think that sounds like something that would work for our family. We already schedule special time for mommy and daddy, otherwise we would never have a minute for ourselves! 🙂

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