We’re running a challenging little experiment in our house. Challenging because it constitutes finding 10 minutes twice a day for each parent to spend with each child.
Amy McCready calls this 10-minutes, twice per day, per adult caregiver Mind, Body & Soul time in her book If I have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.
My six-year old is what you may call strong willed. There are so many times where I feel like I have to nag, remind, yell or even resort to forcing that when I ran across this book at the library, I had to check it out.
There’s a line in chapter two that wants the reader to envision your child wearing a giant sign around her neck that says, “I want to belong, and I want to feel significant, but I don’t know how to do it.” This concept approached mind blowing for me. My adult brain seems to automatically assume that my child should feel part of the family and loved because they are simply part of the family. Done. That’s it.
But this line came to me after a particularly hard morning of cajoling, begging and finally firmly demanding to get out the door for “school” (also known as daycamp and daycare.) My six year old asked through pursed lips why I always yell at him and never at his two-year old sister.
I replied with a generic “she gets yelled a too.” But then I was stuck. Deep down I knew that he usually gets more “stern” words that her. Then after reading Amy McCready’s words, thinking she may be on to something, I wondered if my son doesn’t feel significant.
So back to this undevided 10-minutes per day twice a day, let’s help our kids feel significant. In four bullets, McCready lays out the simple plan for Mind, Body & Soul time:
- Time spent individually with each child
- Being emotionally available to your child during this time
- Doing what your child wants to do
- Ten minutes, twice a day, from each parent or caregiver in the home
Yeah, simple but not easy. Where do people find this time. They make it, right? We’re on day four of this little experiment, starting with just 10-minutes once per day with each child, and one of the days we completely missed. We wrote off the missed day because we spent much time together as a family.
However, the point of McCready’s suggestion here is that the child knows this is special time, and that they get to lead. We as parents and adults get to enter their world and be kids. Which, honestly takes a little work. Let things go. Don’t check the phone. Crumple up any agenda or expectation and just go where their exploring mind goes.
Let me know if you do something simular or what you think of this approach.