Date Your Kids?


Yep, you read that right!  And, no, I do not live in a community where in-breeding is encouraged.

For those of us who have more than one kid, there is nothing like stealing away with one of them for some concentrated one-on-one time! I know that it is a total treat to hit the grocery store with just one kid, but I am always amazed at what happens in my own heart and head, and in my child's heart and head when I am able to carve out time for just me and her/him to do something that does not have an ulterior motive. There are many, many ways to incorporate this little piece of magic in our homes:

1. Divide and conquer.  We have two kids, so we can pick an afternoon/evening/weekend morning to divide up and my hubby and I each take one child for a special outing. We try to plan something that would be special for the kid we are taking out. My daughter is old enough to make some pretty awesome suggestions for what to do on these dates.

2. You are the special one tonight.  It can be as simple as setting aside one night per week that is your "Extra Time With Mommy/Daddy Night".

You can set up a rotation for your kids and each week just spend an extra 20 minutes (or more, depending on your child's age) with one child at bedtime, after the other kiddos are tucked into bed. I have a friend who does this with her children and I love hearing about the wonderful things she does during this time (coloring with her 3 year old, painting nails with her 5 year old, working a little bit on the book she is writing with her 7 year old, etc.). She is very intentional about talking with her kids during this time and making some space for sharing things that are important in her children's lives. She has told me many times that it was in these windows of time that she has learned about a fear in one of her kid's lives that she did not know about. I think we have all felt like we are not able to spend enough time with each of our kids individually and this is one way to make sure we are getting a little bit of that time in!

3. Date-night with Daddy.  Send one of your kids out on a "Date with Daddy!" I feel like there is such a value in our husbands getting some quality time with the kids on their own. I know that for me, I tend to run the show when we are all out together because I am so used to the routine of life with kids. It is really fun for my kids to get some time out with just daddy! For those of us with daughters, I think that there are few gifts more precious than establishing a pretty high bar for how our girls will expect to be treated in their lives as teen and adult women. If I want my daughter to date men who treat her like a lady, who listen to her desires, and woo her, then she should have a taste of that as she grows up so that she knows she is worthy of being wooed!

The bonus for me when one kid goes on a special date with Daddy is that I get time at home with just one kiddo.  This feels like GOLD to me.  If I have time with my preschooler daughter, we are able to do some of the activities that we normally cannot do with the toddling Godzilla around  (puzzles, board games, etc.).  If I have solo time with my toddler, we are able to do puzzles and play games at a slower pace without his sister trying to answer every question or "show him how it works".


Now it is your turn... Do you date your kids? Does your husband get alone time with the kids on a regular basis? Any fun date ideas that are "tried and true" that work for you? (i did not mean for that to rhyme!)  How do you balance getting solo time with your kids?  Share what is working with us!  We cannot wait to learn your tricks...


11 comments:

  1. Ali, we do NOT do this! I really want to implement it. This is a great idea to try. I can see how the kids would really look forward to it.

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  2. We're big fans of the date night!

    We don't do it as often or as regularly as we'd like, but we do squeeze it in occasionally. It's so great for everyone. Father/daughter, Mommy/Son, Father/Son, Mommy/daugher (aka girls night out)... Sometimes it's just a walk or an ice cream cone but it's always good.

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  3. Wow...this post brought up some great memories for me. My dad is a minister and was always busy when we were children and he wanted us to know that we were important so we had a weekly date. Every Wed he would pick me up from school and we would get Dominos pizza and rent an old Disney movie....I think we did this for a couple of yrs but I thought it was so cool that I got a specific day and time where my Dad was mine and he did fun stuff. I am going to have to start doing this with my kids...they do love the one on one time with mommy and daddy.

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  4. Our boys are still pretty small, but the oldest (3) LOVES "Just Miles and Mommy" or "Just Miles and Daddy" times.
    We call them adventures. They really are about doing something he'll love. He usually wants to go for a walk, that's how he started calling them "ventures." I LOVE this time with him. So occasionally if we're not connecting, I'll ask if he wants an adventure with me. The answer it always yes. And I always feel like we've bonded when we get home.
    Great topic!

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  5. We do this once or twice a month and it's always a big hit. My hubby takes turns taking each girl out for some one-on-one time. Even if it's just a bit of grocery shopping after dinner in the evening, or out to a local restaurant for a meal. Then I spend concentrated time at home with our other daughter. Or I'll leave one at home with him and she'll "help" him with various projects while I take the other shopping with me. It doesn't take much time if you involve them in what you would have been doing anyway, and they feel special, and you get some great time with them. Definitely something I'm grateful we've made time to do.

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  6. My husband dates my 3 year old daughter more often than he dates me! I think it has to do with the fact that there is no babysitter hired to watch me while they're gone ;) We pay our babysitters REALLY well because they are doing an extremely important job....so we can't afford one except for special stuff. We'll have to work on switching that up a bit.
    Their dates usually consist of a long walk, a trip to Target for a small and needed item(For instance, "you get to pick out new ponytails tonight on your date with Dad!!!"), and then sorbet at the homemade ice cream shop.

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  7. I love that this post included shorter date ideas i.e. the 20 minutes with each kid. I often put too much pressure on myself to keep all our date nights big scheduled events.
    One simple date that is always on the calendar is Friday night living room campouts with dad. My four year old and hubbie blow up the air mattress, do a craft together, and watch a Disney movie while I head off to prayer meeting and the 1 yr. old is asleep upstairs. He spends the whole night with her and it's something she looks forward to every week!

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  8. This has always been one of our parenting priorities. My husband has "dates" with our daughter (6) and "Pal Time" with our son (5). The kids are never too young to start this. This is truly the highlight of their life. He loves bringing my daughter flowers and taking her someplace special - he just took her to Color Me Mine again last week and they painted a mug together that said "Daddy and Madeline Date Night." He takes my son to throw balls and hit at a special park and they always end up getting "baseball drink" (Gatoraid). Some of his other favorites include searching for seashells on the beach, making sand castles, going to a special restaurant, Disneyland (we have passes so this is always popular), and of course movies. He also loves to take the campera or video camera to document their special time. One of my favorite things to do when I have a kid all by myself is just to snuggle up with them and have a "book party." I tell them to make the hugest pile of books they've ever seen and we read all of them. We put on some fun music (like Milkshake - a great kids band) and have a blast.

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  9. i have a husband who adores his daughters and all things daughterly. they have long known the term "Daddydaughterdate". This involves various shopping excursions, haircuts, movie dates, and always some sort of sweet treat. When this happens, my son and I stay home for what he calls "Mommykissingcamp". He often asks if we can just stay home and kiss all day.. (he's 4). When we flip flop, I take the girls to some craft store and we go nuts purchasing all types of medium for potential "gifts". Libraries are great, too, because they often have very specific age bracket activities as well as art museums and hands-on discovery museums. With different age children heading off to school at different times, we often take one a little early for a bagel or a steamer before school. Going to school and having lunch with your child can be another fun get-together.

    At this season in my life, I have the great fortune of my parents living less than a mile away. This makes it great to divide and conquer three children among 4 adults.... A GIFT THAT I UTLIZE AND APPRECIATE!

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  10. My husband and I have just started talking about this idea. Now that we have a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old AND a new baby, we get very little time with each child alone.

    Thanks for the reminder. I'd really like to get a schedule going once we hit the school year.

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  11. I just did this last night. My 8yr old and I went out for ice cream while the 1yr old stayed home with dad. What a change just a little extra special one on one time can do for the attitude!

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