How Special Time Makes Children Content

The mother of two girls had arrived at a weekend social gathering with her girls and husband. Her husband flowed right into a group of chatting adults, and she’d been looking forward to doing the same all week long. Here it was, Friday night, and her younger daughter was hanging on to her skirt and unwilling to move an inch. Disappointment and irritation were right around the corner, waiting to pounce, but she pulled out her handy-dandy Special Time tool and gave it a try.

“How about I give you 5 minutes of Special Time before I join the grownups?” she asked, and her daughter jumped at the chance. She asked her mom to get down with her, under one of the serving tables, hidden by the tablecloth. They played there, close and cozy, for the 5 minutes, then the mom said, “OK. That’s time, sweetie. That was so much fun—I would have never found this cozy place without you! Are you ready to run off to where the kids are playing?” She was. Her need for attention was filled, she felt at home, and off she went. The mom had a good evening with her friends; her daughters did, too.

This kind of everyday magic can happen for you, too. Your attention is powerful. Your open-minded interest is like manna from heaven for your child’s mind and spirit. Your warmth radiates toward your child, whether you admire how she picks the dirt out from under her fingernails, play catch with her, make silly costumes for the cat, or read her favorite book for the 70th time, with gusto.

In all cases, you’re the Special Sauce. Your attention is with her, 110%. It might be for 5 minutes; it might be for a whole delicious hour because it’s her birthday and little sister is out with Auntie Jen. But short or long, you make the difference.

“I’ll play whatever you want to play for ten minutes. What do you want to play?”

Your mind is undivided.
Your heart is on alert.
You don’t have an agenda.
You let your child lead.
You keep things safe, and you’re up for adventure.

She can do things you ordinarily can’t allow, because for this time, you put your squeamishness, your preferences, your worries, or your judgment aside, and let her try the thing you wouldn’t choose to do in a million years.

These are great features, but the irreplaceable magic is you.

You are precious.

You are hers, all hers for this time.

Your attention helps her feel her best.

Your interest is exactly what her growing mind needs while she experiments with the gift of time to explore in this exquisite world she wants to know and master.

A timer keeps it clear that you will pay attention the whole time. You won’t get distracted. Nothing will interrupt your approval.

And your firm decision not to multitask allows you to put your usual burdens aside. Once done, this can be one the best things about Special Time for you. You have just one thing to do, one person to focus on. Who knows what will happen? Bring it on!

For you, Special Time is a moving meditation on how special your child is. You might be able to feel the miracle of her existence again like you once did.

For your child, it’s a beam of reassurance straight from your heart to hers. She might not always let on that she feels that beam. Sometimes, for reasons particular to your child, she might have to be careful not to let on that she counts on you, hopes for you, loves to feel your attention. She might have to invest energy in looking “ordinary” on the outside, while you pour your attention on her and treat her as special. But this will change over time.

You’ll know your attention was absorbed later in the day. You might see a bit more affection, a bit more laughter, or you might hear about issues or experiences she hadn’t talked about before. Your child might cry long and hard about a little thing, opening up the feelings she didn’t dare to express before. Your child may have a fiery upset, trusting you to anchor her while she blasts off the fears that kept her guarded, worried, testy. You can welcome these signs that your attention has made her feel safer, and that she’s trusting you to understand that feelings rushing out allow love and contentment to flow in.

You are the Special Sauce in Special Time. You have the power to help your child feel felt, feel connected, feel content in the moment, with all she ever needed right there beside her. You.

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.

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