As my husband and I have started to learn more about connecting with our children, we have been getting down to basics thanks to our own family therapy support. It sounds so simple, but since it had not been part of our daily life, we have had to work at it. What is special time? It is quality time spent with one’s child that is 100% led by the child. No questions, no commands, no directions, or re-directs are allowed. That means no “How about we…or Let’s do…” In our adult-centric world, children thrive and need a sense of control over at least some part of their world. If you think about it, children are being told what to do all.day.long. It starts in the morning when they are getting ready to head to school. It continues with all of their school administrators, and then it continues again with coaches, parents, and any other adult who “is in charge” at the time, and then it happens more at bedtime.The benefits of special time for the child are numerous and include “feeling more settled, less stressed, and more confident and connected” (Simperingham, 2013).
What does special time look like? For my daughter, it may be coloring, doing a craft, playing UNO, our favorite Bananagrams, Headsup, or any other game/activity. For my son, it can be cooking/baking, doing a puzzle, building Legos, playing trains, etc.
One day, my dear son, the self-proclaimed chocoholic, just like his mother and father, was insistent that I take him to his favorite grocery shop for chocolate covered pretzels. We were on the verge of a true meltdown. I felt his pain. Sometimes I literally
could have had a meltdown about not having chocolate. The struggle IS real, y’all! I like a good chocolate fix like the next person. However, I was not going to make a special trip just to get chocolate covered pretzels because 1) he had just gone with his father this weekend and they had blown through their supply, 2) it was out of the way, 3) and it was expensive. So since we both love chocolate and needed an activity to do together, he decided that we would make our own chocolate covered pretzels.
DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Melt half a bag of chocolate chips (the darker the better and 1 T of butter (helps make the chocolate shiny) in a bowl. Dip the pretzels or paint the pretzels with a spatula. For the sticks, I dipped my spatula in the chocolatey goodness and twirled it to get an awesome coating on the pretzels. You can leave them plain or jazz them up with caramel sauce, sprinkles of toffee bar or any other topping like round sprinkles. The topping possibilities are endless. Place them on a cookie sheet to harden in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
We had so much fun making our own as you can see. They didn’t last long, but the memories of making them will last a lifetime. This activity was such a good reminder that kids need special time with their parents and parents need it just as much. Enjoy. You will wish you made more. Trust me. There weren’t any when I got home from work. It is okay because they are easy to make.
What activities do you like to do with your child? How do you like to slow down and truly be there with your child? Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.