The very first step in the H.A.P.P.Y. Plan is “Hugs” and lots of them because they are so very healing. Here are a few quick steps to helping you create your own “Hug me” time with your child:
“Hug me” time should be anywhere from five to fifteen minutes in duration.
Step 1: Try to complete your child’s daily tasks.
It’s important to have everything completed so you and your child do not feel any stress or pressure. Your “Hug me” time is valuable and it’s important to be able to get the most out of it. So, finish dinner, homework, bath time, bed time rituals like brushing teeth or combing hair, etc. You may have to finish the dinner dishes, balance the check book and return emails later. For the next several minutes, focus on making sure your child’s world calm and settled with all loose ends neatly tucked in.
Step 2: Create a quiet environment.
Be sure to turn off the television, game consoles, computers, Ipods, etc. Don’t answer the phone, text message or email. As difficult as it may be, simply cut yourself off from the outside world for a few minutes.
Step 3: Create a sleepy environment
By this I mean turn lights down low, close blinds or shades making it easy to relax and eventually fall asleep. Play soft music if it tends to calm your child.
Step 4: Find a comfortable place to hold your child.
I used a rocking chair but it can be a sofa, a cuddly place on the floor with lots of pillows and stuffed animals, or if they’re older and too big for your lap, you can sit beside them on their bed and put your arms around them. Just be sure everyone is completely comfortable.
Step 5: Tell your child this is our “Hug me” time and try to keep things very quiet. If they talk, let them, but keep it soft and low so they feel relaxed. Sometimes I would softly sing a song or hum a tune if I felt my daughter was having trouble settling down.
It would be optimal to repeat this exercise at least three to four times a week or more if your schedule allows. If you have more than one child, the key is to assign everyone their “Hug me” time and stick to it. If you can’t squeeze everyone in on one evening, than assign each child their “Hug me” day. Ex: Alex has Monday, Amelia has Tuesday and Max has Wednesday. For a busy working single Mom, I realize this seems like added pressure to your day, but you will find once you make time for this exercise, you will look forward to it as much as your child does.
Our “Hug me” time was without a doubt one of the things that helped my daughter and I through the initial stages of divorce. It allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with my child after having been in crisis mode for such a long period of time. Crisis mode is fine for a while, but it takes its toll on you and your child especially if you can’t seem to move on from the crisis. It’s imperative to get back to a point where you can once again focus on your child’s emotional needs. It will not only make your child stronger, it will make you stronger as well.
Enjoy your “Hug me” time and feel free to send me some feedback!