The 15 minute parenting prescription: once a day with each child, set aside 15 minutes during which he is completely in charge of what you do. As long as it is safe and within your house rules.
The Rules for You:
Be Fully Present. Treat this time as sacred.
No taking over! Probably you will just comment on what she is doing: like a play by play announcer:
“I see you have the blue block on top of the red one.”
“You look like you are being a kitty.”
“The guy in your video game is building a wall.”
Resist the urge to judge it: You might be tempted to say “I like how you stacked the blue block.” Don’t. Just comment. It could be your child does not like how the block is stacked. You don’t want to say it’s good if s/he thinks it’s not.
Resist the urge of ask lots of why questions. How questions are good: “You want me to pretend to be Catwoman. How does she act?”
What are the benefits?
For you: You learn to appreciate the child and develop an internal “love map” of her world. this will help you to slow down and tune in. It’s almost a mindfulness practice.
For the child: S/he will develop confidence and autonomy. By putting the child in charge, you send the message that s/he is competent, capable, and able to direct him-or-herself.