Mom and Kid Dates:
A little one-on-one time goes a long way in building your relationship
by Tricia Goyer
Coming up with a “date day” was one of the best things I did for my parenting. With four kids sometimes it feels more like “managing the herd” than getting to know my kids individually. That's why I set up a system to have a one-on-one date with each of my kids once a month.
Sometimes I took my kids out to lunch. In fact on one of the lunch dates my daughter, Leslie, and I were blessed when I went to pay and discovered an anonymous guest had paid for our lunch! And while lunch out is a special treat, just as often we found FREE fun things to do. Here are some ideas that you might want to try with one kid at a time or for fun group dates. I guarantee if you get these dates started your kids will be begging to schedule the next one as soon as you're through.
Free date ideas
Explore your town: Make a list of your favorite places around town — or places you've wanted to visit but haven't — and then set out to see how many you can mark off your list. Chronicle your journey with photos and notes as you go.
Stay-at-home dates: My friend, Ann, does stay-at-home dates once a week with her kids. Each child gets 30 minutes of mom's time. They've made crafts, baked and sewed together.
Create-a-holiday: Another mom, Tara, let her children make up their own holiday. They picked the day and called it Sisters’ Day. They planned the celebration for two weeks, made gifts and then went on an outing with Mom.
Go on a nature hike: Visit a local park. Bring zip lock bags for collecting objects and a notebook and pencil for sketching the landscape.
Plan a camp in: Miriam is a single mother of a son and their favorite date is a living room camp in. They set up their sleeping bags on the floor, watch cartoons and tell stories in the dark.
Take an impromptu journey: “We loaded up the car with peanut butter, jelly, bread and juice boxes and headed out,” says my friend, Jan. “We didn't have an itinerary, no place we had to go. Our favorite stop was a covered bridge. We walked through the water barefoot, laughed until we cried and all of us ended up sitting in the water letting the fish swim around us.”
Play a board game ... or two: Kids love the individualized attention and great conversations can take place between rolls or spins.
Try one of these ideas, or come up with your own date. Remember to focus your attention on your child during that time. That means no cell phones, no texting and no running through the to-do list in your mind. Focused time is like sunshine and water. Do this once a month and watch your relationship grow!
Tricia Goyer is an acclaimed writer, publishing hundreds of magazine articles while authoring more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books combined. Among those are 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award winners Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. She lives with her husband and four children in Arkansas.