Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+ 5 ideas)

Raluca Loteanu January 9, 2017
7 people like this post
Special time with kids | Activities with kids | Positive parenting | Gentle parenting | Parenting tips

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.

My first month of my parenting challenge is dedicated to connecting with my little boy, so I am focusing on this and I’m trying to find different ways to build a strong connection with him. One of the best parenting tools I discovered some time ago is special time. Spending some special time with kids on a regular basis offers them the chance to enjoy our presence and to feel listened and connected with us.

What does special time with kids mean?

A special time means spending 10-20 minutes with the child and doing whatever he wants to do with that time. The only rule for the parent is to give the child his full attention and love. This time is mainly about connecting with the kid and showing him the positive attitude you’d like to see from him for the rest of the day. Playing and laughing together will create that special connection between parent and child and this will create the opportunity to build a strong relationship that prevents negative behaviors.

Some perfect moments for special time with kids

I noticed that it’s useful to use the special time when the child needs it the most, namely when he feels the most disconnected. In our case these moments were:

  • – in the morning, before preparing to go to the preschool
  • – in the afternoon, after returning home from work
  • – in the evening, before sleep time.

Now that I became a stay-at-home mom these moments changed a little bit and I noticed he needs special times:

  • – in the morning, after his dad leaves for work
  • – at lunch, before the nap time
  • – in the evening, before sleep time (this one remained unchanged).

Another great idea is to spend special time for easing some challenging situations:

  • – before challenging moments (e.g. going to the doctor)
  • – when the child is facing a fear and need help to overcome it
  • – when the child is stressed by a new situation.

Using these times helps me prevent meltdowns and tantrums. Each time I miss the right moment when I feel he is disconnected, he engages in some negative behavior because this is his way of showing he needs my attention. In these special times, I focus my entire attention on him without any distractions (phone, TV, laptop) and I do exactly want he wants. Sometimes he wants to play something together, other times he wants to run with me all over the house and so on.

The most wonderful thing about spending special time with kids is that you see the good effects very quickly. When a child feels connected and loved he will be more willing to listen to his parents and to cooperate during the daily tasks.

How to plan special time with kids when you have a busy schedule

When I was a working mom with a full-time job it was sometimes difficult to balance the work with my personal life and the time I wanted to spend with my family. Sometimes I was so tired that I really wasn’t in the mood for playing and having a special time with my son. But I realized that special time is really healing both of us and it’s giving us the opportunity to know each other better and to disconnect from the daily hustle. Once a child feels disconnected from the parents he will engage in a lot of negative behaviors and the whole relationship with him will be affected. Spending some time with him every day prevents this from happening and most of all it gives him the chance to feel how loved and cherished he is.

When I had a full-time job I tried to plan the special times to be sure I have enough time to spend with Bogdan and give him my full attention. In the morning we woke up 10 minutes earlier to have time for cuddle and play. This made the whole morning routine go smoother and without (too many) complaints.

In the afternoon after coming back from work, I never planned anything in the first half an hour and I only focused on spending time with Bogdan. This special time really helped us to have calmer evenings in the family. Before sleep time I always planned another 15 minutes of cuddling and playing in the bed to make sure we both go to sleep happy. This easy thing really made the process of putting him to sleep much easier.

This way for only 3 rounds of 10-15 minutes a day I managed to have a strong and loving relationship with my son even when I had a really busy schedule. This doesn’t mean that I only spent those moments with my son. We made a lot of other activities together along the day, but the special time is different because it focuses only on the child and it’s dedicated to building that strong emotional connection that every child needs to have.

Special time ideas

Older children probably have a lot of ideas for the special time, but small kids sometimes don’t know how to express what they want to do. In this case, it’s better if the parent has a list of ideas and the child can choose one of them. The list of ideas is also useful when you start to have special time with your child and he doesn’t have a lot of inspiration for proposing activities.

Here is my list of ideas for spending special time with kids:

1. role play with the dolls / plush toys

(this is especially useful when the child has something on his mind and cannot express it with words; playing is a great way of allowing children to express their worries and fears)

2. playing something “messy”

(for example playing with flour; this play is useful when the child has difficulties with dealing with rules and limits and he feels the need to “break the rules”; making a lot of mess is a great way of helping him to eliminate some of the frustration)

3. pillow fights

(they are fun and help the child to drain his energy; it’s also useful when parents have “power struggles” with the child because it helps him eliminate some of the frustration) or “wrestling” on the bed (a nice alternative to the pillow fight)

4. “100 hugs”

(this is a game we invented and we love to play; each of us tries to give the other one a lot of hugs and kisses while running through the house)

5. a short dance party in the living room

(a great way to connect and have some fun)

If the child wants to pick the activity on his own (and this is the best alternative), you can find here a great article on this subject: A guide to letting your child rule.

I hope that our experience with the special time will be helpful for you. I really think that spending special time with kids is one of the most powerful parenting tools we could use to build a wonderful relationship with our children and it’s really easy to implement it in the daily schedule.


If you want to receive more parenting ideas and join my parenting challenge for 2017 I would be glad if you would join the Playful Notes community. You only need to subscribe using the below form.

Special time with kids | Activities with kids | Positive parenting | Gentle parenting | Parenting tips

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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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Comments (33 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Mackenzie Glanville

    January 9, 2017 Reply
    oh 100 hugs sounds gorgeous! #TwinklyTuesday
  • avatar image

    Coombe Mill - Fiona

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    Having your undivided attention even if just for a few minutes in the day is so important. With 6 I find it challenging, but they all find their ways to make it happen when they need it even now they are teens. #TwinklyTuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      Wow, I imagine that having special time with 6 kids it's a real challenge, it's great that you manage to do this!
  • avatar image

    Sarah Howe @runjumpscrap

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    This is a lovely post and I'm happy to see I do some of your suggestions for the special time. Had a disco with my daughter yesterday and she loves role play games. You are right just a short amount of time means a lot to them. x #twinklytuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      A disco sounds great! I also have "parties" with my little boy: just the two of us dancing in the living room. :-)
  • avatar image

    Chloe

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    I absolutely adore this! I could not agree more! It is so important! http://beyondblessedblog.com/
  • avatar image

    Carrie Ford-Coates

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    Totally agree with special time! I work full time and have a toddler. I noticed that if I spend a little cuddle time prior to story time she goes to bed easier and has a better night.
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      It's the same for us, special time really makes the falling asleep much easier!
  • avatar image

    Greta

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    I don't have kids but am definitely sending this to my mommy friends. You have some great tips! Greta | www.gretahollar.com
  • avatar image

    Lisa (mummascribbles)

    January 15, 2017 Reply
    Love this so much. I definitely need to do this with the eldest since he gets a lot less focus now there's a baby in the house. Thank you and thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I'm really glad you liked the ideas! A new baby is a big change for the family and special time can make it a little bit easier!
  • Parenting challenge: my plan for the first month - Playful Notes

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] wrote HERE about why the special time is important and I shared some ideas for special time if you need some […]
  • Welcome To Turn It Up Tuesday!! | TheMrsTee

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Turn It Up Tuesday {#174} • Bliss & Faith

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Guest Host with Turn It Up Tuesday Link Up Party!!! - My Rambling Thoughts

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Turn It Up Tuesday Linky Party #174 – Being A Wordsmith

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • avatar image

    Jenna VanHoof

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    This is a wonderful idea and so heartfelt, the child well feel at ease and the parent can spend quality time with them.
  • avatar image

    Hannah Green

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    What an important post for people to read. I’m not a parent but I am a teacher so I see the difference between children who spend time with their parents and those who don’t and the affect this has is more than you’d imagine.
  • avatar image

    Ashlea

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    These are great tips. I have a 14 month old and has started showing my husband and I what he wants to do.
  • avatar image

    9buckcrossing

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I love quality time with my kids. The best time is whenever you are transporting them about - it's a great time to catch up on moments and opportunities for more discussion.
  • avatar image

    Heather

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    Spending time with your kids is vital. Actual quality time. I make sure that every morning I put on some music video on YouTube and we all dance to a fun happy song.
  • avatar image

    stacey

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    This is great. We sometimes think we are giving our full attention, but we aren't and kids know the difference.
  • avatar image

    mira pstr

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I don't have kids yet but this article will be helpful in the future :)
  • avatar image

    Milica

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I am stay at home mom and I have a lot of moments like this with my kid. That is the best time of my day!
  • avatar image

    Beauty that walks

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    It is important to take some time and spend with your kids, doing this helps them to grow and not that they are loved. The list of activities you selected I use them a lot around my nieces.
  • avatar image

    deb dutta

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    This is so adorable. Love it. you
  • avatar image

    Wanderlust Vegans

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    I think that if you decide to have children you should be spending a lot of time with them. This post is great for those who need ideas on what to do.
  • avatar image

    Kirstin

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    '100 Hugs' is the cutest thing I've ever heard of! It's so true, kids need this sort of time and these are all brilliant ideas.
  • avatar image

    Angela Zimsky

    January 24, 2017 Reply
    This is a great idea. Thank you for the tips. I think that spending special time with my little one is important too. It's not difficult either because I love her to pieces.
  • How I find time for me (and work) as a stay-at-home mom - Playful Notes

    February 28, 2017 Reply
    […] have special times with my son every day and we made a schedule that includes a lot of activities together, but also small breaks […]
  • What helped me become a calmer mom and be gentle with my child even if I'm angry - Playful Notes

    March 27, 2017 Reply
    […] Read more about special time here: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+5 ideas) […]
  • What to do instead of punishments? 5 gentle ways to discipline young kids - Playful Notes

    April 17, 2017 Reply
    […] – spending special time with the child for creating a safe place for him to express his emotions and fears. [ Here are more details about special time: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+ 5 ideas). ] […]
  • 3 gentle ways to handle aggression in young children (that really work!) - Playful Notes

    May 30, 2017 Reply
    […] { Read also: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+ 5 ideas) } […]

Leave your comment

Comments (33 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Mackenzie Glanville

    January 9, 2017 Reply
    oh 100 hugs sounds gorgeous! #TwinklyTuesday
  • avatar image

    Coombe Mill - Fiona

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    Having your undivided attention even if just for a few minutes in the day is so important. With 6 I find it challenging, but they all find their ways to make it happen when they need it even now they are teens. #TwinklyTuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      Wow, I imagine that having special time with 6 kids it's a real challenge, it's great that you manage to do this!
  • avatar image

    Sarah Howe @runjumpscrap

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    This is a lovely post and I'm happy to see I do some of your suggestions for the special time. Had a disco with my daughter yesterday and she loves role play games. You are right just a short amount of time means a lot to them. x #twinklytuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      A disco sounds great! I also have "parties" with my little boy: just the two of us dancing in the living room. :-)
  • avatar image

    Chloe

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    I absolutely adore this! I could not agree more! It is so important! http://beyondblessedblog.com/
  • avatar image

    Carrie Ford-Coates

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    Totally agree with special time! I work full time and have a toddler. I noticed that if I spend a little cuddle time prior to story time she goes to bed easier and has a better night.
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      It's the same for us, special time really makes the falling asleep much easier!
  • avatar image

    Greta

    January 10, 2017 Reply
    I don't have kids but am definitely sending this to my mommy friends. You have some great tips! Greta | www.gretahollar.com
  • avatar image

    Lisa (mummascribbles)

    January 15, 2017 Reply
    Love this so much. I definitely need to do this with the eldest since he gets a lot less focus now there's a baby in the house. Thank you and thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I'm really glad you liked the ideas! A new baby is a big change for the family and special time can make it a little bit easier!
  • Parenting challenge: my plan for the first month - Playful Notes

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] wrote HERE about why the special time is important and I shared some ideas for special time if you need some […]
  • Welcome To Turn It Up Tuesday!! | TheMrsTee

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Turn It Up Tuesday {#174} • Bliss & Faith

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Guest Host with Turn It Up Tuesday Link Up Party!!! - My Rambling Thoughts

    January 16, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • Turn It Up Tuesday Linky Party #174 – Being A Wordsmith

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    […] Why It’s Important to Have Special Time With Kids (+ 5 Ideas) chose from Playful Notes. “I love the ideas for having those special moments with your kids. […]
  • avatar image

    Jenna VanHoof

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    This is a wonderful idea and so heartfelt, the child well feel at ease and the parent can spend quality time with them.
  • avatar image

    Hannah Green

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    What an important post for people to read. I’m not a parent but I am a teacher so I see the difference between children who spend time with their parents and those who don’t and the affect this has is more than you’d imagine.
  • avatar image

    Ashlea

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    These are great tips. I have a 14 month old and has started showing my husband and I what he wants to do.
  • avatar image

    9buckcrossing

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I love quality time with my kids. The best time is whenever you are transporting them about - it's a great time to catch up on moments and opportunities for more discussion.
  • avatar image

    Heather

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    Spending time with your kids is vital. Actual quality time. I make sure that every morning I put on some music video on YouTube and we all dance to a fun happy song.
  • avatar image

    stacey

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    This is great. We sometimes think we are giving our full attention, but we aren't and kids know the difference.
  • avatar image

    mira pstr

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I don't have kids yet but this article will be helpful in the future :)
  • avatar image

    Milica

    January 22, 2017 Reply
    I am stay at home mom and I have a lot of moments like this with my kid. That is the best time of my day!
  • avatar image

    Beauty that walks

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    It is important to take some time and spend with your kids, doing this helps them to grow and not that they are loved. The list of activities you selected I use them a lot around my nieces.
  • avatar image

    deb dutta

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    This is so adorable. Love it. you
  • avatar image

    Wanderlust Vegans

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    I think that if you decide to have children you should be spending a lot of time with them. This post is great for those who need ideas on what to do.
  • avatar image

    Kirstin

    January 23, 2017 Reply
    '100 Hugs' is the cutest thing I've ever heard of! It's so true, kids need this sort of time and these are all brilliant ideas.
  • avatar image

    Angela Zimsky

    January 24, 2017 Reply
    This is a great idea. Thank you for the tips. I think that spending special time with my little one is important too. It's not difficult either because I love her to pieces.
  • How I find time for me (and work) as a stay-at-home mom - Playful Notes

    February 28, 2017 Reply
    […] have special times with my son every day and we made a schedule that includes a lot of activities together, but also small breaks […]
  • What helped me become a calmer mom and be gentle with my child even if I'm angry - Playful Notes

    March 27, 2017 Reply
    […] Read more about special time here: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+5 ideas) […]
  • What to do instead of punishments? 5 gentle ways to discipline young kids - Playful Notes

    April 17, 2017 Reply
    […] – spending special time with the child for creating a safe place for him to express his emotions and fears. [ Here are more details about special time: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+ 5 ideas). ] […]
  • 3 gentle ways to handle aggression in young children (that really work!) - Playful Notes

    May 30, 2017 Reply
    […] { Read also: Why it’s important to have special time with kids (+ 5 ideas) } […]
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