One on One Time as a Solution to ‘Almost’ Everything

One on One Time as a Solution to ‘Almost’ Everything

It is hard to overstate the impact that this simple intervention has on children. Of all the things you give your child, your time is one of the most appreciated.

One on one time builds rapport between the child and adult. It builds trust. It sets a peaceful and respectful stage for other interactions. Thus it can ultimately be helpful in increasing compliance, reducing defiance, lessening anxiety, and generally improving mood, relationships, and self-esteem.

The idea of one on one time has some particular characteristics. Basically, one child and one adult spend time together. This means just those two people: no siblings, friends, other adults, or grandparents. The time together needs to be free of external distractions, such as cell phones or TV. It is time to enjoy each other’s company.

The child gets to select how the time will be spent, within reason. Electronics are not allowed, so no TV, movies, or video games. The child leads the activity and the adult follows. This is not a time for the adult to teach the child. It is a time to enjoy playing. If this is hard for you as the adult, read up on the benefits of ‘play’ for both children and adults. Your child’s blocks, action figures, or dress up clothes meet some of the same needs for them as card games, fishing, golf, or little theater productions meet for adults. If your child consistently picks an activity that you do not enjoy, remember you will only be doing it for 15-20 minutes. If it is very stressful for you, ask the child to select something else every other time.

It is helpful to identify these special one on one play times by giving them a name, such as ‘special play time.’ Also, let your child know the amount of time that is being set aside. Many people will set aside 15-20 minutes for these special sessions. Remember that children also need to develop skills to entertain themselves, so it is fine to sometimes encourage children to play alone.  As the adult partner, select a time that you will be free from distractions and other demands on your time. Try to relax and be open to your child’s ideas. Offer supportive, non-judgmental comments such as, ‘I see you are setting out the blocks by color before we start to build,’ rather than ‘you are building a good tower’. If you practice mindfulness yourself, this is a delightful setting in which to experience the moment.

Like many of the ideas presented in this blog, one on one time will not magically cause homework to be completed on time or chores to be finished with no reminders. It is one way to reduce stress in families and build positive experiences. Try it! 

Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.