Giving Children More Attention and Time

My husband and I are attending a parenting class offered through the school called The Incredible Years. Over the next 11 weeks, we will focus on a different concept each week. To compliment the class instruction, we will read a chapter in this book by Carolyn Webster-Stratton. So far, I'm impressed with the focus and content of the program.  

I decided to post about class each week in hopes to solidify and remember my experience, and to share with those who aren't attending. I hope you find it helpful. Feel free to check out their official site for more information, or to check out the book. 

This week we focused on giving personal attention and time to our children. It seems like such a basic concept, and one that should come naturally. However, I left class knowing that I could definitely work on this.

Our assignment was to spend at least 10-15 minutes each day having "special time" with each child. It could be while doing something that we already do (like making a meal or practicing the piano), or doing something the child wants you to do together (ex. draw a picture or play a game). We were instructed to keep things positive, and avoid power struggles. We were also told to give our full attention to our child  (no phone calls, texting, distractions from other kids), and to look them in the eyes (I don't do that enough!). And we should let the child lead out in the activity. Sound easy enough? Are you currently doing this?

I wish I could say that I was already in the pattern of doing this, but looking back, I haven't been consistently available for my children. I don't always get alone time with each child. And as a mom, it's so easy to say "no" to their requests for my time because there really is always something else I need to be doing. Honestly, this week I realized I'm better at turning them down than saying "yes." That was a sad realization! And one that I want to change.

So by having this assignment over the past week, I have noticed a small (but significant) change in my behavior. I gave myself permission to take a break and be with my children. I said "yes" more often. And it  has felt great! I've found myself down on the floor playing ball with my 3-year-old. I've paused to draw with my 5-year-old. I asked her what I should draw, and we discussed her picture. I accompanied my 6-year-old to feed the bunnies, just to get the time with her. I was more willing to sit and read with each child. I got into their world for a few minutes, and it was so nice to fully be there with them.

I only made small changes to give them my time and attention (and I haven't missed those minutes or regretted the time spent), but I have noticed big results. I have felt more connected to my kids. I've enjoyed them more. I have found myself laughing more with them. And they seem to be more connected to me too. I think I am a happier, more fulfilled mom. Consequently, they seem to be more obedient. It's been a good week in our home.

This reminds me of the scripture in Alma 37:6

"by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

I hope I never forget the insights and skills I gained this week. And I hope to improve in the coming weeks at making daily special time with each child. 

If you could use a little boost in your relationship with your children, or in your fulfillment as a mom, I recommend this assignment. Try it! 


  1. What a fun challenge! I'm excited to hear the other things you learn. :)

  2. Jo and I took an Incredible Years class in Colorado a few years ago and loved it. We've been looking for one in Utah since we moved here. Could you find out about any others in the area or if we could join your class?

  3. I need this reminder, especially now that my 3-year-old is in preschool 3 mornings a week. Great posts, and good job posting more often! Sorry I can't comment more/more often. I'm working on limiting my time reading blogs.