The Importance of Special Time with Each Child
Children usually crave attention and time with their parents. When a child has one or more siblings, that desire is often even stronger. In some cases, children even act out in order to get attention. Therefore, setting aside “special time” where you spend time alone with each child can be extremely helpful for them and even you as well.
Here are a few suggestions for developing a “special time” plan for your children:
1) Set aside the same time each week to devote to special time with your child. This will allow them to mentally plan ahead and look forward to that time each week. If needed, make sure your other children have an afterschool activity, can stay with another parent, babysitter, or have other plans.
2) The amount of time within reason doesn’t matter a huge amount. Even if the special time is for a half hour or an hour, it’s really the idea of it that matters more.
3) Do something fun with your child each week during this time such as going for ice cream, bowling, to the movies, playing a board game, etc. It is important that this quality time be spent doing something fun as opposed to working with them on their homework or chores.
4) Make sure that you give each of your children the same amount of “special time” each week if the younger children are old enough to be aware of what is going on. Children value fairness very highly, and seeing their sibling get significantly more time alone with a parent than they are can lead to increased acting out for attention.
I hope these suggestions are helpful.
Copyright 2014 Carey A Heller, Psy.D.
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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*