Children need special time with each parent. 10-15 minutes of undivided attention daily will go a long way in helping children feel your love for them and also prevent many behavior problems. I can hear all of the parents saying “but we already give all of our time to our children when we are not at work”. Yes, I am sure it feels that way but family time spent at meals or working around the house or running errands is not undivided attention for each child. Anthony Douglas Williams, an author, said “Spending time with children is more important than spending money on children” and I could not agree more with his sentiment.
Follow the steps outlined below:
- Give this time a name such as “special time” so that your child understands that it means time set aside each day for them
- Never take it away as punishment
- Keep it short (10-15minutes)
- Time is separate for each child in family
- Parents pick the time and the child picks the activity; however, avoid passive activities like watching TV.
- Time is not to be interrupted for phone calls or pleas from other children, etc. (thus the need to keep it short and guarantee the child that unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding they will have your undivided attention)
- End on time to teach your child how to let go of your attention. Of course sometimes, you will be able to spend longer with your child than 10-15minutes but you will be able to take phone calls, put clothes in the dryer and then return to the child versus the undivided attention time.
Take time for yourselves as well. Schedule date nights and stick to them to remind yourselves why you liked each other in the beginning before the little ones starting tugging on you.