One of the most encouraging things a parent can do for their child is to spend regular, scheduled time with them. Many parents may think they already spend a lot of time with their children, however there is a difference between "family time", "have-to time" and "scheduled special time".

Children under two years of age require a lot of time and are not old enough to understand "special time". As long as they feel your happiness while you spend time with them, scheduled time isn't truly necessary. Between the ages of two and six, children need around ten minutes a day of special time that they can expect. Even more time is better, but if you have a very busy schedule that ten minutes can still be quite magical.

From ages six to twelve, children don't need special time each day, but they do like to count on at least half and hour each week or an hour every two weeks. Time spent could be as simple as sharing milk and a snack after school or an hour out every Saturday. The important part is that they can expect time that has been set aside especially for them by each parent. The reasons for this are plentiful, however here are just a few:

1) Children feel a sense of belonging and significance when they can count on special time with you. They feel that they are important to you.

2) Scheduled special time is a reminder to you about why you had children in the first place - to enjoy them.

3) Children's self-esteem improves because they feel you "like them", something very different than "loving them" and therefore their inclination will be to abide by your house rules more easily.

4) When you are busy and your children want your attention, it is easier for them to accept that you don't have time when you say, "I can't right now, but I'm really looking forward to our time at 3:30."

Plan this special time with your children and brainstorm a list of things you would like to do together - you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results and your children will be utterly thrilled.

Author's Bio: 

Erin Kurt, parenting & life coach to working mothers, and founder of ErinParenting, is also the author of Juggling Family Life and creator of The Life Balance Formula and the How to Get Your Child to Listen program.