Have you heard of love bombing?
The Psychologist Oliver James has been talking about it this year as a way of affirming children, increasing their self esteem and boosting their love "well" - my words, not his.
I rate Oliver James, since reading his book "They f*** you up" I've had nothing but respect for his accessible and sensible psychology; but did he need to make money out of this by writing a book? Or perhaps I'm being unfair and he's donating all the money to children's and parenting charities.
More truth is in the fact that I'm a little green eyed that I didn't coin such a cool phrase for something I've been doing with Rachel since she was three.
Let me share my experience.
When Rachel went to preschool and I started working (volunteering) I noticed a real difference in her need for time with me in a more focused way. It was as if she missed all the time that we'd previously had together. Suddenly our time together was focused on chores rather than fun and that meant she was missing the concentrated focus on her.
I spoke to a few people about this at the time and their overwhelming opinion was that this was life and we had to get on with it. They felt that Rachel had to get used to not having me at "her beck and call" and realise that we were separate entities.
Wow, what craziness was that?
She knew we were two individual people, but there was noooooooooooo way that a three year old needed to understand that we would live separate lives where she was on the periphery. That went against every instinct I had.
So I instigated the "Mummy Rachel day".
A "Mummy Rachel day" is a day where Rachel decides what we do and I focus entirely on her. That means I don't check my emails or facebook or twitter, I don't do the washing or read my book or chat on the phone with a friend. I spend time with Rachel and show her how important she is to me.
Rachel has always started her day by drawing or writing out a plan of what she wants to do. It almost always involves some sort of art or craft, perhaps a trip to the park or watching a DVD together and usually pizza. It doesn't really matter though, within reason of cost and time she can direct the day any way she wants.
The "Mummy Rachel day" actually started as a Friday afternoon every week and over the years has progressed into a day each month and a two day block near her birthday.
Rachel really looks forward to these days and will now request an extra one if she fancies one - usually if our lives get very busy or if she's feeling a little unnerved by something. She'll often use the time to talk about something that's worrying her; I didn't expect that but it's made me realise how important this provision is as she gets older.
And the other benefit - she knows that this time is a gift of me to her, yet she'll often now offer me a "Rachel Mummy day" where I choose exactly what we do on a day together.
I can't recommend this enough to everyone. I have friends with older kids and those that have less problems communicating when they hit the teenage years are those who did something similar to our "Mummy Rachel day" - they love bombed their kids. Call it what you will, it's about time and love and togetherness.
Give it a go; I guarantee it'll be fun and it will improve your understanding and relationship with your child.