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:
- Important to be done regularly, everyday is optimal, but two to three times a week consistently is OK. Siblings should receive equal opportunity.
- 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.
- Parent picks time of day.
- Label it “special time”.
- Pick a time short enough that it can be done reliably as scheduled, usually 15-30 minutes.
- Do it no matter how good or bad the day was.
- One on one without interruption
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.