Making Time to Talk: The Importance of One-on-One Time

In today’s busy world with work, school, and extracurricular activities, it is easy for full days to go by without parents having the opportunity to sit down and share a meaningful conversation with their child. Scheduling one-on-one time is incredibly important when it comes to a successful parent-child relationship. Children, especially children with anxiety, need time with each of their parents – special time when mom or dad is fully present and the child has the opportunity to lead the way.

Preschool Years

When children are younger, try to incorporate a “special time” into each day for the two of you to do an activity together. This ought to be period of at least 15 minutes when you are fully focused on and present with your child. Although preschool children typically spend a large portion of their day alone with a parent, most of the day is spent with the parent multitasking (chores, errands, dinner, computer time, etc). Special time provides an opportunity for the child to feel in control and to open up and express their emotions through play.

Bedtime is another wonderful opportunity for connecting with a preschool child. As difficult as it may be, try not to rush through the bedtime routine. Children often open up and talk when they are lying quietly in the dark next to a parent.

School Age Children and Teenagers

For school aged children and teenagers who are only home for a few hours each day, special time can be a little harder to find. One thing that has worked for several families, is to designate a child’s-choice day once a month where the child gets to spend one-on-one time with a parent (alternate parents each month) and is given the opportunity to choose all activities.  Parents can assign a budget or other specific parameters. A child’s-choice day provides something for a child to plan and look forward to all month, and is a really fun way to reconnect.

Many families love having date nights with each of their children where they have a special dinner just the two of them and have the chance to talk and share with each other. This could be dinner out to a favorite restaurant, a picnic in the park, or just dinner eaten in a room separate from the rest of the family