Children sitting in playground with backpacks

How was school today? Using Special Time to get the answers you need

When our kids first start school, it can be so infuriating that they often aren’t interested in telling us much about their day. (And as the parent of a teen, I can tell you that it is often the same when they get older!)

Patty Wipfler, founder of Hand in Hand Parenting, explains why you don’t get much of an answer when you ask the question “How was school today?”. She explains how to use Special Time to reconnect – with young children, and those heading into adolescence.

Speaking of her older child, the interviewer asks “How do you do that with a person who on the outside, is saying “Oh, I don’t want to be touched or bothered right now, but you really know they want to connect..” Patty says “The connection builds more slowly as children get older. The envelope of isolation around them is a little thicker, so it takes a little longer to pull things back together. What we suggest is that you do Special Time, but you don’t announce it. It’s in your mind – you say “I’m taking 20 minutes for her. Let me see where she is.” Take your magazine over – and sit beside her. In a way it is like fishing – you put your “attention line” in the water, and she’s not going to nibble for 20 minutes, she doesn’t even look at you. But you shine your attention on her, and you come back the next night and you shine your attention on her, demanding nothing, and sooner or later, she’s say something like “Oh, I don’t like my math teacher…” and then it is your job to not go “Is that why you are getting a C minus, what are we going to do about it” but it is your job to go “Ha. Tell me more.” Just let her come to you. You have to go fishing for an older child..”

(This video is temporarily unavailable, but I’ll update this when I get a fresh link.)

Patty Wipfler headshot on NBC Class Action video.

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© 2019 by Madeleine Winter.

The featured image above is School Children by Madeleine Winter and is licenced CC BY-NC-SA-4


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