Isolation restrictions have placed extra pressure on home relationships. In particular, parents of young children have had to deal with the huge transition to home-schooling, and then sudden return to school, all within the last couple of months. Therefore, it is completely understandable that in the face of this stress, some parents may have noticed that children are acting out, and their relationships with their kids are under some extra strain. In my last blog, I spoke about how parents can show empathy towards their children when they’re experiencing big emotions. Empathy is a powerful tool in building connection with your child.
Special Time is another great way to reconnect with your child. Special Time involves setting aside a regular 15-minute block where a parent spends individual time with a child. So how exactly do you do it?
- Tell your child that you would like to have Special Time with each child for 15 minutes, as many days of the week you can.
- During Special Time, give your child all of your attention. Put your phone in another room and try to find a time when other children are being looked after by someone else.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes. Tell your child that today they get to choose what to do with Special Time, and tomorrow you will get to choose. You will alternate. Say something like “I’m all yours now, what would you like to do?”
- When it’s your child’s turn to choose what to do, follow their lead. Occasionally comment on what you’re seeing, “Wow you’re building that tower so tall”, but resist the urge to tell your child what to do, or correct their behaviour. Simply enjoy watching them play and explore.
- When it’s your turn to choose what to do, you could choose a game that gets your child laughing, as this promotes bonding and also can release any pent-up emotions. One excellent idea is to have a pillow fight with your child. It might require some energy, but consider it your work out for the day!
- End Special Time when the timer goes off. Tell your child that you loved the time together, and you will have Special Time again soon.
Special Time allows your child to feel accepted, seen, and that you do really care about what they want to do, even if you can’t always give them what they want. Because of this, kids can feel happier and more cooperative. Use this 15 minute window to nurture your relationship with your child, and enjoy!
Lauren Chee (M Clin Psych, BSc (Hons – First Class)) is a psychologist who understands the importance of forming a genuine and caring therapeutic relationship with each individual she sees. Lauren is registered with Medicare and is also an approved practitioner in the NSW Workers Compensation System.
Lauren has experience working with both children and adults within schools, private clinics, and inpatient and outpatient hospital settings. Her warm and supportive approach helps her clients feel comfortable exploring their concerns in order to develop practical strategies to reach their goals. Some of the issues she has helped her clients with include depression, anxiety, perfectionism, adjustment to significant life change, self-esteem, grief, learning difficulties, and school and work-related stress.
In her work, Lauren recognises the individuality of each person and their story, and provides uniquely tailored treatments to support her clients. By being committed to the latest psychological research, she is able to equip her clients with evidence-based skills and knowledge that can lead to positive and lasting change. Lauren is a dedicated and approachable psychologist with a passion for helping her clients live a life in line with their personal values.
Lauren has a special interest in:
Anxiety Disorders e.g. Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Health Anxiety
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Skills and Assertiveness
Parenting and Attachment
Child Mental Health and Wellbeing
Learning Difficulties e.g. ADHD, specific learning disorders
Outside of work, Lauren enjoys spending time in nature, discovering new music, and sharing delicious meals with her friends and family.