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Make Time  

Time spent with your children is very important.  Unfortunately, it often consists of time that is leftover after everything else is taken care of.  Relationships with children need nurturing and attention and the more the parent-child relationship is attended to, the better children will do emotionally and behaviorally, and the more effective the rest of your parenting will be.

Parents should spend at least one hour a week, in one block or in multiple blocks, in one on one time with each child.  This time should be devoted to just paying attention to them and expressing positive things toward them.  This can often best be done by choosing to spend time with your children when they are doing something they can be praised for or in which you can recognize their skill.

It is also important to leave some things out of these times.  You should avoid teaching, questioning about areas they are not already speaking about, offering them alternative perspectives to what they are doing or thinking, or correcting their behavior.  Basically, this means during this time parents should give up their roles as teachers and shapers. 

Some parents get really caught up in the teaching role and have a difficult time giving it up.  I have even seen it to the extent where a parent is uncomfortable giving out praise without also attaching to it suggestions for improvement.  Think of this special time as a different dimension of the parent-child relationship.  If children only get messages about how they can improve from parents, it is more difficult for them to internalize the messages of appreciation and love.  This special time will enhance your relationship with your children and likely make the time spent on teaching more effective as well.

See what adding some focused time can do to your relationship with your child and to your child’s life.