Special Time

Special Time: The Power of Child Led Play Time

We were recently listening to NPR and heard a report on a concept called Special Time and we wanted to share this concept with Families, Nannies, and Caregivers. This is a concept where parents or caregivers take 5-10 minutes a day (or at least 4 times a week) and have “Special Time” with their children. “Special Time” is a one-on-one time spent with your child in a child directed play. This can be playing Legos, Cars, Dolls, or with Other toys your child is interested in. “Special Time’ is used to create a stronger connection between child and parent. It is a time where the child leads things and bonds with their parent or caregiver. Doing “Special Time” with your child has been known to create stronger bonds and helps improve children’s behavioral and listening skills.

The Do’s and Dont’s of “Special Time

  1. No demands (Do not ask your child to do anything they do not want to do during this time unless their safety is in jeopardy). 
  2. No Questions (This is a hard one, do not ask your child any questions during this time, instead let them lead the conversation)
  3. Leave your phone and devices in the other room. (Everyone can go 5-10 minutes a day without their phone or devices.)
  4. Do not use Special Time as a reward or punishment
  5. Do not use this as teaching time. (No what shape is that? What color is that?)

Do’s During Special Time 

Special time must be done one-on-one and not with multiple children at once. 

They use an acronym for special time and that is P.R.I.D.E. 

P – Praise – Praise your child and be specific in your praise. (I love that Lego house you built.)

R – Reflect – Repeat what your child is saying. This shows them you are engaged. 

I – Imitation – Imitate what they are doing to engage with them. 

D – Describe  – Describe what they are doing. 

E – Enthusiasm – Be enthusiastic with your engagement during this time with your child. You can do this by authentically communicating both verbally and non-verbally 

“Special Time” works best with children ages newborn to grade school. Research has shown that this is a great simple way to take a little time out of your day to connect with your child and improve their behavioral and Listening skills.

To listen to the full story on NPR visit: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1128737199

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