Special Time allows me to really enjoy my son's personality
author By Emilie Leeks,

Our oldest child (aged 7) decided to do some junk modelling* to make a boat in our Special Time. It was one of those Special Times where you feel a bit like a spare part - more like an audience member than an active participant! I find those quite hard as I don't feel I'm really needed, and I really have to remind myself that me just being there, and listening, and giving all my interest and attention to him at those times, is exactly what he needs.

He worked away at his construction quietly, but he was chatting to himself as he went - I felt really privileged to hear his thought processes as he worked through what he wanted to do and why! I usually only get to see the end product of this sort of work, as he often works away on his own before showing us what he's done, so it was really great to see how he came up with his ideas. I was also able to see problem solving, tenacity through frustration, quiet confident leadership (when he finally did get me involved!), creativity, estimation skills and just sheer joy in what he was doing. I marvelled at his ability to spend what felt like an age (probably actually only about 20 seconds!!) lost in looking through coloured plastic at the light - he is a real thinker, and processes information slowly, and I usually want to hurry hurry hurry through to an end product as I know we never have enough time to get things done, but this time I was just appreciating the process.

It was just great to take the time to drink him all in, as he worked on his thing, in his own time, on his own terms. It really made me realise all over again how much there is to appreciate about his personality - and I will be working hard to remember that when he is working slowly through the 'must dos' like putting on his shoes or eating his breakfast! I will remind myself that the process is just as important as the product, and perhaps that I need to leave a bit more time so that he can do these things in a way that works so well for him.

(*Junk modelling for those not familiar with the term (I am told it's a UK thing!) is construction with old bits and bobs, like yoghurt pots, toilet roll inners, paper plates… Whatever you have lying around really!)

Further reading on Special Time:

A word or two about Journeys in Parenting; a responsive parenting community

Emilie is a Hand in Hand Parenting instructor, and was a paediatric speech and language therapist in her former life. She provides support and coaching for parents via the Journeys in Parenting community. Emilie lives in Berkshire in the UK with her husband and 3 children.

Journeys in Parenting is a community group for parents, carers and parents-to-be, who want to find out more about parenting in a responsive and peaceful way. The community offers information, advice and emotional support for this hard work we do as parents. The vision of the group is to be a safe space, where parents are supported in guiding their families in ways which: are respectful to children; meet the parents' needs; and lead to a more peaceful planet for all.

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