We all know how important having a one-on-one date night with our significant other can be. Yay for Valentines Date Night coming up!
But we often forget to make the time to spend that crucial one-on-one date time with our children.
As a counselor specializing in children and parent relationships, I have one favorite assignment that I like to assign parents right away. It is what I like to call: “You & Me Time” or “Special Play Dates.” It involves setting a 20-30 minute weekly parent-child play date with each of your little ones.
This is a moment where cell phones, laptops, TV’s, and video games are all powered off, and a sign is hung on the door to avoid interruptions. It is a moment of time where your child has your undivided attention and complete control on what and how the play will be like. They will begin to feel more empowered, encouraged, and safe to communicate how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Therefore, you both will build a greater understanding of one another and the relationship will grow stronger.
To get started:
- Collect a variety of toys and art supplies and place them in a bin. The toys in this bin are to be saved for the “Special Play dates.” A complete checklist of what toys I recommend can be found here.
- Set a consistent time and find an uninterrupted place in your home suitable for playing without distractions. Make sure it is a place where you aren’t worried of things getting a bit messy.
- Make a sign to put on the door for everyone to know that there is a “You & Me” moment occurring.
Curious on how I made this little door hanger?
Step 1: Gather supplies: Wooden Door Hanger, Scrap booking Paper, Scissors, Glue, Ribbon, Rub on Words, Sand Paper, and Glitter Hearts.
Step 2. Paint the wooden door hanger.
Step 3: Cut out and glue paper on painted door hanger. Sand around the edges.
Step 4: Glue Ribbon.
Step 5: Add the Rub-on word, glitter heart, and additional ribbon.
Final Step: Hang on your door during Play Date.
Things I encourage parents to do during play dates:
- Set the stage by setting a blanket down for boundaries and placing the toys on the outer edge of the blanket. Try to place them the same way every time to keep consistency.
- Avoid criticizing or taking charge during play.
- Avoid lectures or giving information.
- Allow your child to be the boss- that means to act as an active follower.
- Reflect your child’s feelings and verbally describe what you see them doing.
- Transitioning can be difficult at times so try giving a 5 minute warning or setting a timer when there is only five minutes left.
There is an entire therapy called Filial Therapy or Child-Parent-Relationship Therapy revolving around these basic points. For more information on play or filial therapy- check out my blog www.weedstowishes.com or look for a local Filial workshop in your area.