SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – “Connection is the core of human experience,” said Alisa Van Langeveld, PhD., a parent educator and founder of the “10 Minutes Together” parenting strategy.
She added that our first, our longest, and our most powerful connections are in our families starting with our parents.
As a family researcher, Alisa knows the value of connection and say she has seen the destruction disconnection leaves behind.
As a result, “10 Minutes Together” was created. This is a positive parenting strategy of spending 10 minutes connecting one-on-one with your child, every day.
“Modern parenting is relentless. It is breaking the spirits of our parents and driving disconnection through distraction, overwhelm, and guilt. What if we can address that disconnection in just 10 minutes a day? We can. I do. I call it “10 Minutes Together”. It’s a parenting strategy spending 10 minutes of focused interaction time, one-on-one, each day. And it works,” said Alisa.
Ten minutes is long enough to make the connection meaningful, according to Alisa and short enough to actually get it done and do it consistently.
Alisa has found through research that occasional extravagant connection time does not have the impact that everyday playful, simple interactions have.
Alisa says she has seen great results from spending 10 minutes of quality time with her own children. She says everyone benefits from focused connection time.
Research shows that moms feel their parenting is more meaningful and less stressful during interaction time with their kids, according to Alisa. She also added that when dads are involved in interactive time with their kids are happier, calmer, have better marriages and better family functioning overall.
Kids who spend interactive time with their parents have higher reading scores, are healthier, have higher emotional intelligence and adaptability, according to Alisa.
“10 Minutes Together” has been practiced in Alisa’s home for years. She says she has seen the relationships between herself and her husband deepen.
Alisa says through this process, she has been able to arm her children with an emotional care tool to use when they are melting down or feeling overwhelmed.
She said her children ask for 10 minute time when they need to calm down, feel comforted or work through some big emotions.
What about those who have a lot of children?
Finding the time:
Alisa says somedays it will feel impossible to find the time but this parenting practice is about connection, not perfection. All connection matters.
If moms can do “10 Minutes Together”, once or twice a week, Alisa says that connection matters.
Alisa has 4 kids and says she gets in two kids per day, often three, and rarely all four.
Happy Valentines Day from my crew ❤️ . The group family dynamic we share is warm and wonderful, but it does not replace the connected, rich relationship I want to have with each of my children, one-on-one. . Take a few minutes today to tell each member of your family that you love them. One at a time. No distractions. Make eye contact. Connect. Hug. Share some things that make you grateful for that one person. ❤️ It matters. . . . #10minutestogether #valentinesday #momofgirls #momlife #postiveparenting #parenting
The key is to pay attention and make sure kids who missed time together, get that time the next day, according to Alisa. She also says it helps to tag team with her husband.
What do I do with my other kids?
Parents with multiple kids might struggle to find one-on-one time without distractions from their other children who Alisa says may want to be in on the fun.
She said this can be avoided by preparing the other kids for independent play time.
“Kids benefit from unstructured, undirected play time. This is a great thing to do for your child anyway. Try a toy “strew,” which is laying out, or “strewing” a few toys in the middle of the room as an invitation to play. Helping other children to be engaged elsewhere allows for better, uninterrupted 10 Minute Time,” said Alisa.
As children become teens and adults, the ways to connect change, but Alisa says the need for connection and the benefits never go away.
She says “10 Minutes Together” is ideally suited for kids aged three to fifteen. Younger kids need much more time, largely in routine care and shorter bursts of connection. Older teens need less time daily but still benefit from longer sessions of connection time, according to Alisa.
What Alisa says you can do in those 10 mins?
The first step is to pay attention and focus fully on your child then ask what they would like to do.
Make a “10 Minute Time” activity list to refer to. Alisa offers a printable “100 Ways to spend 10 Minutes Together” on her Instagram page. She says what you do doesn’t matter, what matters, however, is being fully present and focused on your child.
Alisa just finished a five-day connection challenge where she walks through how to jumpstart this parenting strategy.
Here are Alisa’s 7 steps to get the most out of your 10 minute time and get it done:
1-Set the environment
2-Clear Start (time it on your phone)
3-Connect (verbally and nonverbally)
6-Connect (verbally and nonverbally)
“10 Minutes Together” is not only for moms
Kids benefit from 10 Minutes Together with their dads as do-dads with their kids, according to Alisa.
10 Minutes Together with DADS! ❤️ . This week is all about the importance of one-on-one time with DADS! 👨👦 . ALL FAMILIES are places where kids can feel safe, happy and connected – families with a dad, without a dad, extra dads, or if dad lives somewhere else.👨👨👦 . If your family includes a dad, that father-child connection can be a rich source of joy for kids, for dads, for moms and for families as a whole. ❤️ . This week, we’ll cover the BENEFITS of involved, connected dads, HOW to encourage the dad in your family to be involved and we’ll SHOWCASE some awesome dads who are spending #10minutestogether with their kids. Tag me in your posts! 👨👦 . And if your family does not include a dad, that’s ok too. The mother-child connection is so, so powerful and can buffer and strengthen your child no matter what comes their way. Keep connecting, keep listening. You can do this mamas! 👊🏽 . And you can do this dads! 👊🏽 . To get a jump start on WHY dad time matters, have the dad in your family listen to my interview with @benkilloy on the “Military Veteran Dads” podcast (link in profile). . . #positiveparenting #dadlife #fatherhood #intentionalparenting #minimalistparenting #connectingwithkids #dadsandkids #10minutestogether
She also says kids benefit from one-on-one time connecting with their siblings.
“Moms are often the emotional connection center of their homes. The one-on-one connections they create fan out like bicycle spokes from that center. However, the family and each individual is strengthened when strong connections are built between each member, two at a time. Between dad and each child, and between each sibling with each other. Think of spider web of emotional connections binding the family together in all directions.”
The pattern of consistent connection benefits everyone, according to Alisa.
Sibling time ⏰ . Every one-on-one relationship in our families matters, including each child with each sibling, one-on-one. In fact, that is the BEST way to decrease sibling conflict! . Weekends are a great time to slow down and encourage your kids to spend time, one-on-one with EACH OTHER. . Start with a book. One book read out loud to each other. Older kids or little ones. Call it a “chore”. . Try it today! And let me know how it goes! Use the hashtag #10MinutesTogether and I’ll find you! . . Let’s connect our kids with each other, 10 minutes at a time 👊🏽 . . . #10minutestogether #parenting. #positiveparenting #siblings #sisters #siblingrivalry #siblingconflict #siblingconnection #readaloudrevival
She said with “10 Minutes Together” moms feel less guilt and less overwhelmed. Dads feel more calm and fun. Kids feel more seen, heard and valued. Families function better with more closeness and adaptability.
Alisa is an adjunct professor in the Family & Consumer Studies Department at the University of Utah and mom to four young kids.