I’d been longing to go for some walks over Christmas. We had one planned on Christmas day an hour before we were due to have lunch with my partner’s family. The first ten minutes went really well, with my daughter running along happily splashing in the puddles. However, she quickly got fed up with walking and wanted to go back.
The next 45 minutes were really hard work.
My partner and I did everything we could to try and get her to carry on walking and she spent the whole time complaining and dragging her heels which meant the whole thing became a real ordeal. But we laughed about it together on the way back to the car and proceeded to have a great day.
The Grumpies Continue…
The next day my daughter was really tired after staying up very late on Christmas day. We had a quiet day at home, playing games and watching a film. After dinner, we decided to go for a short walk into town to see the Christmas lights. Again, about five minutes into the walk my daughter started to complain and wanted me to pick her up.
I refused. My partner offered but she didn’t want him to pick her up, she only wanted me. By this time we were on our way home and she complained and moaned the whole way. Bedtime was also difficult because she only wanted me and not her dad to put her to bed, although we’d agreed we were both going to do it.
Thanks to Hand in Hand Parenting I've become more adept at reading the signals my child sends. Although we were all together for Christmas, we'd been disconnected a lot just before the holidays, partly because my partner had spent eight days working away. I sensed that these calls for attention were her way of asking to connect with us now we were all back as a family. This can often happen when a child has the added security of both parents present.
So after she went to sleep we made a plan to reconnect for the next day. We had intended to set off early the next morning and head for the coast, but seeing that she was very tired and there seemed to be lots of feelings happening for her, we decided to fill her cup up before we did anything.
We decided on a big dose of Special Time with both of us.
One Special Way to Restore Connection
When we told her the next morning about the extra special Special Time with us both, she resisted and said she didn’t want any, but after a while, she agreed. We set the timer and gave her special time together. She wanted us to a puppet show for her. We both poured in our love while we did this and connected with her.
It really is a miracle how special time works!
As our time ended, the feeling of connection came flooding back and I felt that we were all much closer than we had been in days.
After lunch, we went out for a walk along the canal. We walked for two and a half hours, coming home in the dark. My daughter was totally happy the whole time. It was wonderful to spend this time together feeling happy and connected and walking in the outdoors, which is one of my favourite things to do.
Special Time is such a wonderful way bring us closer and to spend time together that really nourishes us.
You can read why the Special Time tool boosts the relationship you have with your child in this chapter on Special Time from our book Listen: Five Simple Tools To Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges.