Sometimes called “Child Directed Play”

A strength based approach to problem in living

The goal of this is to establish regular times when parent and child have a positive experience in each other’s presence, supporting family self confidence, pleasure and hope. Regular special time together is like money in the bank that lessens times of crisis and re-establishes motivation for positive behaviors. Families often find that time-outs work better after initiating special time.

How to do special time:

  1. Important to be done regularly, everyday is optimal, but two to three times a week consistently is OK. Siblings should receive equal opportunity.
  2. Child picks activity, which needs to be something the parent does not actively dislike doing and which does not involve spending money or completing any task or chore.
  3. Parent picks time of day.
  4. Label it “special time”.
  5. Pick a time short enough that it can be done reliably as scheduled, usually 15-30 minutes.
  6. Do it no matter how good or bad the day was.
  7. One on one without interruption
  8. End on time: may use a timer to help. Remind child when the next special time will be. May play with the child after a break from each other.
  9. If the child refuses at first, tell the child that you will just sit with him/her for a while, and/or that you will continue to invite the child to participate when the next special time is scheduled.
  10. Parent also needs to have special time for him/herself. This is often a prerequisite for the parent to do special time with the child.