Hello, I’ve been doing ST with both my kids for a few years. More recently I’ve started “following the child” and not making suggestions. This has been going well but I notice my 4 year old many times just wanders around her room jumping from thing to thing and not really focusing on anything. I try to state what she is doing but I find it really hard… she walks over and picks up a doll then drops it and says lets play lego and when I go sit next to her she wanders off to something else. Have you ever heard of this before. When the timer goes off I feel like we haven’t really had ST and I wonder if she is getting anything out of it. Sometimes she comes up with a game and we play happily. I really have to resist not suggesting something when she does the wandering around thing. Any ideas? Thanks!
What a great question and one that many parents ask. Over and over again, I’ve heard Patty say that it’s NOT the activity, nor even the amount of time that makes Special Time special. It’s the QUALITY OF OUR ATTENTION.
That’s why Special Time is even valuable for infants. They only need a few minutes here and there, but the point of Special Time is to give our child our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and to simply DELIGHT in what they do – even if they do nothing or they move from activity to activity or they just want to read books.
We put the timer on for 10 minutes and we delight in their eyes and how their hair falls across their forehead and just keep shining our light on them.
If this seems unsatisfying to you, Tara, it would be great to take it to Listening Partnership and explore what’s underneath your own tension. Why do I have a different expectation? Is there some fear I have in not getting it right or my daughter not being focused? That’s always a great place to explore in Listening Time – what’s the fear?
The truths is that whenever we have an AGENDA for what our kids should do in Special Time, it erodes the connection and the safety. The most important connection we can have is a non-verbal limbic system-to-limbic system connection. Or you could think of it as a heart-to-heart connection. Our kiddos will pick up on our dissatisfaction and it will seem to their heart/limbic system that we are dissatisfied with them and that we are not fully present – which we are not. We are worried about things not being right.
You can trust that as long as you are shining your light on your daughter and delighting in whatever she does or doesn’t do… you can trust that she is getting all that she needs from Special Time – because she is getting all of YOU!
Here is a very simple Special Time checklist. If you are doing everything on this checklist – setting a timer, following her lead…. you are doing Special Time just right.
I hope my thinking helps, Tara. Please let us know how it goes…
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