Can you spare five, ten, even 15 minutes today to just have fun with your kid? To really pay attention to them one on one (and not for misbehaving)? To love and laugh with them? Special time is when you set aside everything else and do whatever your kid wants for a few minutes. Say yes to special time and you’re saying yes to one of the greatest joys of parenting — not to mention one of the greatest tools to teach your kid lifelong emotional and social skills. Here’s why special time is so special:

 

It’s just about them.

Between making dinner, answering emails, walking the dog and feeding the baby, it can feel hard to concentrate on anything else. But it’s important (for you as well as your kid) to take the time to connect one on one. Model empathy by showing you care about what your child cares about. Do they want to play-wrestle? Challenge you to Q’s Race to the Top? Make up a new dance for you to do together? Whatever they choose, show them what focus really looks like by giving them your undivided attention.

 

It puts your child in control.

Little kids get told what to do all day long. This is one chance for them to take charge. What do they want to do? Let them take the lead — without suggesting another (better) way to catch the ball or win at tic-tac-toe or do whatever else they decide to do with you. Instead, practice just watching, following and appreciating your child. Make special time an opportunity for your kid to build self-awareness and practice independence.

 

It creates the space to share their feelings.

Prioritizing special time promotes bonding and builds your child’s trust in you. That sets the stage for them to talk about things they might not otherwise share–whether it’s while they play house with their stuffed animals during special time with you or right before bed that night.

 

It’s fun.

Spending time with your child — really spending time with them — is a gift for both of you. Enjoy it!

 

Try this: Sing along to Q Wunder songs together from the Q Wunder app — you can even make up your own dance routines to them!