That’s such a great question! and YES, we definitely want to say YES to our kiddos as much as possible. That’s part of the point of Special Time! They have the power. We follow their lead. AND once you have established a good strong practice of Special Time in your family, then you actually can set limits on the activity.
Patty says that if your kiddos is choosing something that you just can’t stand or that feels unhealthy – like screen time or eating ice cream – you want to say YES to that activity 8, 10, 12 times – enough that your sweet kiddo an TRUST that you are going to follow their lead and delight in the horrible activity that they’ve chosen.
Then, once you’ve established that wonderful practice of saying YES during Special Time, when they ask for the messy plan on time #9, you say, “Not today, sweetie. We can do anything you want to do. We are just not going to do a food plan today. We can do it on the weekend, but not today” (or printing plan or whatever…) The most important part of this is NO EXPLANATION. All that explanation is really to try to ease our discomfort – to avoid the upset, or because of how limits were set when we were kids. We can take all that to our LISTENING TIME.
When we BRING this Limit for Special Time, we want NO explanation or reasoning. If there is no tension around this particular plan, then they will happily choose something else. If there is tension, then when you Bring this limit, you will get UPSET and you just want to LISTEN – again without any explaining. NO explaining, trying to convince, etc.
Here is an article that can help. The first one is about Bringing a Limit at the END of Special Time. It’s not exactly your situation, but it does give an example of how sometimes kiddos use Special Time to work on stuff. Listening to them can be even more powerful than Special Time, itself.
The last thing I want to recommend – and this may be old news to you – is for YOU to get LISTENING TIME around all this. See if you can sort out your feelings around cost, waste, expense… What are the FEELINGS you have, JUDGMENTS, FEARS... If you take all that to Listening Time and get to offload any fears and judgements you have (especially explore stuff around those things when you were small) then you will be able to be more RELAXED and clear about what, if any, LIMIT you want to set. As long as you have a good practice of Special Time, you absolutely can set a limit. Maybe you only do a food special time or printing special time on the weekends. Getting Listening Time will help you sort through voices in your head and stuff from your childhood vs. any values you want your family to hold.
I hope all that helps, good Mama! It’s so great that you have Special Time happening in your family. It’s a rich powerful practice that can have some safety, financial and time constraints as to what you can do in 10 minutes. Let us know what you figure out.
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
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“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi