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Ten Golden Minutes

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked as a parent educator for the State of Idaho; I worked with parents of preemies, parents of atypically developing children, parents involved with Child Protection Services, and everyone in between. I loved meeting each family and getting to know them and their specific needs and concerns. Over time, I realized that I was constantly coming back to the same strategy for so many families: 10 Golden Minutes. Since becoming a mom, this parenting strategy has saved my sanity most days.

Named after the Goldilocks rule, 10 minutes can provide you and your child with enough uninterrupted quality time to help build your relationship, give your child one-on-one attention, and open up meaningful conversation. But it doesn't go on so long that the interaction can turn sour or become overwhelming with everything else you have to juggle during the day.

So what does 10 Golden Minutes with your child look like? First, and most important: put your phone away. For children, attention is love. When they have your undivided attention, they get their little cups filled to take on the challenges of the day. Next, pick two activities that you know you will genuinely enjoy with your child and let them pick between the two. This lets your child feel like you value their input without locking you into an activity that you may struggle to enjoy. When the 10 minutes is close to over, give your child a warning so they’re not caught off guard- time is a difficult concept for most children under the age of 8.

Now that you know what 10 Golden Minutes looks like, let’s talk about why it’s so impactful. Loads of high-quality research shows that children feel loved and secure when they get to spend quality time with their parents and caregivers. As stay-at-home moms, we often find ourselves spending SO much time trying to play with and entertain our children, which can lead to feelings of burnout. But, instead of burning the candle at both ends, we can follow the research, which shows that children don't actually need a lot of time with their parents to feel loved, they just need to believe that the time spent together was genuinely enjoyed by everyone involved.

I want to pause to say that for parents of multiple children, most days it will not be possible to give each child 10 high-quality minutes. Make it a goal to create a rotation system of one child per day. Fun activities for the whole family can provide all of your children with quality time and can also play a role in a happy household, but that is different from the 10 Golden Minutes strategy.

It's important to remember that this strategy is meant to help you, your child, and your relationship. If it's not serving that purpose, take a break and try again later. There will be days when 10 minutes is easy and truly fun, and there will also be days where even 10 minutes feels like too much. You are still an amazing parent for recognizing the need for a break and taking it.

This strategy of 10 Golden Minutes can be a tool you pull out of your toolbox on a regular basis, or on days when your kids need that something extra. However, I’ve noticed a difference in my relationships with my kids as I’ve made a habit of spending 10 golden minutes with each of them. Overall, wanting to do better by your kids shows that you care. Do what is best for your family: take what works and leave the rest.

Have you tried 10 golden minutes? How has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments!

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