Before we all head off for our three-week break, I wanted to post the Positive Discipline Tool for the month of December: Special Time. When I reflect on the Christmases of my childhood, I don’t think about the gifts I received. In fact, I don’t remember most of the presents that Santa put under the tree. What stands out in my memory is the time I spent with my family and friends- baking cookies, watching classic Christmas movies, touring around to look at festive lights, and sharing delicious meals together.
As I grew into adulthood, Christmas became almost another chore. It was about running around and buying presents, sending out cards, and organizing Christmas parties. Since moving abroad, I have been able to reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas- sharing that special time with my family and friends. I no longer stress about buying gifts or sending cards, because I know what matters most is the time I will get to spend with those I hold most dear in the world.
Positive Discipline recommends scheduling “special time” with members of your family each week. This is time spent together outside of family meal times. Time where everyone disconnects from technology and is truly present to each other. The guidelines offered by Dr. Jane Nelsen for special time is 10 minutes a day for children aged 2-6, 30 minutes a week for children aged 7-12, and a special outing or activity once a month for teenagers. Parents and children can take turns planning the special time activity or come up with and agree to an idea together. The benefit of this special time is that it deepens the bond between family members and strengthens the trust. When this happens, discouraging behavior tends to decrease.
We all live extremely busy lives. Even small children have massive “to-do” lists that include sports practice, music or dance lessons, extra studies, and household chores. Unfortunately, too many of us use the “I have no time” excuse to explain why we are not making presence to one another a priority. I saw a video several years ago that really put things into perspective for me. Please take a few minutes to watch it.
If I were to ask you what place special time has in the jar, I am sure you would all say “big rock”. In reality though, do we always do what we say? This holiday season, cherish the time you spend with your loved ones and as you head into the new year, re-commit to making special time with those you love most a big rock!