When I watch TV, I always see exercise DVDs or cooking shows advertising the wonderful things you can do in 15 minutes. I wish someone would create a segment about the wonderful things you can do for your child and family in 15 minutes!
The benefits of giving your child, each one if you have multiple, undivided attention for at least 15 minutes a day:
1.) you reconnect with them
2.) they get the opportunity to reconnect with you
3.) opens up communication
4.) creates a feeling of value and importance in the child
5.) increases their feeling of self-worth
6.) can stimulate growth in the parts of their brain that work on building lasting relationships
7.) gives you insight into your child
Surely, if we can spend 30-45 minutes getting ready in the morning and another 30 checking Facebook/Twitter in the evening, I can find 15 minutes to be with my child.
There is a catch though. These 15 minutes have to be uninterrupted. No phone calls, no other siblings, no focusing on what you are cooking for dinner. It is all about the child. This might sound easy, but think about your typical day and how often you give something or someone your entire attention for 15 minutes...it probably doesn't happen that often. That is our culture. We multitask. Successful parents do not multitask their children.
Ideas on how to spend those 15 minutes:
For toddlers and pre-school, play. Yes, it is that simple. Get down on their level, turn your phone off, and get messy. You could teach them one of your favorite games growing up or engage in one of theirs.
For school age, tweens, and teens, let them guide you in what would be fun for them. Maybe it is a Sonic run for slushies just the two of you. Maybe it is sitting on their bed talking about their day. Let them be the leader, but you be the initiator.
Another catch (yes, there is another) is that this time can not turn into teaching, disciplining, or correcting time. If it does then the 15 minutes does not count. These 15 minutes are relationship building, connecting, and "bucket filling" minutes.
Try it out and see if you notice a difference. I am willing to bet that you will see your child differently and will have fewer negative interactions with them throughout the day.
"Connection before correction."