We know we can’t pour from an empty cup. Special Time is a brilliant tool in which you connect with your child turning off/removing all distractions, making loads of eye contact, suspending rules, being wholeheartedly led and just delighting in your child. This is a really easy way to fill a child’s cup and let them know that they are uniquely special and loved. Whilst Listening Time is a great way to fill a parent’s cup and/or emptying out any liquid that really isn’t worth drinking!
Having said this, sometimes it feels really hard. Sometimes you feel like you just don’t have the time, sometimes you don’t have the energy, sometimes your child wants to do something tedious or that really grinds your gears and sometimes your child is reluctant to even do Special Time.
At the moment, I have a few issues with Special Time myself. One is that we are time-poor and feeling very over-scheduled, then there’s the fact that my kids have been putting up a bit of resistance and one keeps insisting on something I hate doing and quite honestly, it’s starting to feel like another item on the “To-do List” and not a very desirable one.
So why persevere?!
1. Connection is also at a bit of a low at the moment (and this is most likely the reason for ST resistance… children sometimes push back at the very thing they need because it brings up some big fears and strong feelings). Special Time is a surefire way to inject some high level connection and remember the things you love about your child. This may seem impossible at certain times when you don’t feel like you can delight in your child, sometimes you will need to remember them as a babe in arms or at some other time when the love was flowing heartily and readily between the two of you!
2. Off-track kids need to have your love reinforced, they need to know that your love is unconditional and that you will always make space for them to know it and Special Time sends this message.
3. I know my kids immediately respond to ST. Things are different immediately after. Having said this, connection creates safety so often the freeing up of good feelings will allow the other ones to flow so please be prepared for an “emotional release” during or after Special Time and make sure you know how to do some Staylistening to those big feelings. Things will be even better with the combination of that connection and the free-flowing release of emotions.
Ok… so we get that it’s essential but how to push past yours or their resistance?
1. Start small – go for 5-10 minutes of Special Time to ease back into it or allow for more regularity.
2. Tag roughhousing on the end – roughhousing is probably as important a tool as ST, for those kids that enjoy it it can be an enticement “We can do some rough time after Special Time!”
3. Make a list together of possible activities.
4. Suggest a “banned” activity – we try to suspend rules for Special Time which is another special factor that comes with it. Have a think about how you can make something your kids want to do but you don’t usually allow safe and suggest it.
5. Get some Listening Time for you – Discuss with a Listening Partner what is blocking you right now. Are you not feeling connected? Do you feel time poor? Is it hard to drop the other things on your “To-do list”? Is YOUR cup low? Were you not allowed to play much as a kid? Was there an adult who played with and delighted in you as a child? How does that impact your willingness to dive into Special Time?
I’m going to take all of this to my next Listening Time and get us back on track because I know how important it is. Let me know if you have any struggles around Special Time and/or want some Listening.
Aunty Ask xx