Making Time To Date…Your Kids

Making Time To Date…Your KidsMaking Time To Date Your Kids #Parenting

Parenting is Hard

This parenting gig is hard.  It’s a trial and error process to some degree, learning what works and what doesn’t for your family as you navigate the waters of well-intended advice, peer judgement and the fear of failure.  No matter what you do and how you do it, if you’re not questioning yourself someone else will.  How do we know when we’re doing it right?  i suppose we figure than answer out as our kids grow into adults themselves, and since the princess is only 7, I think I’ve got a way to go yet.

One of the most important things you can do for your kids is to spend quality time with them.  Note – quality, not quantity.  Yes, most parents spend a good bit of time with their kids, but how much of it qualifies as quality?  My daughter and I spend time together working on her homework every night.  Yes, that is time together, but is it quality time?  Well, that depends… For most kids – my daughter included – no.  The way I define quality time is simple: If your child sees your focus as being on them verses on an activity, place, thing, etc – that is quality time.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Let’s be honest… most of us lead very busy, very scheduled lives and finding time to devote entirely to one person or one thing can be hard.  Now, multiply that times the number of children you have, plus you spouse/significant other – and don’t forget yourself.  Everyone wants a piece of us!  How do we make it all happen?

First, spend some time with each of your children, individually, just talking about what they’d like the two of you to do together sometime.  This is quality time in and of itself, but you’re also getting great info here on possible things you can do together in the future.  This should be done in a quiet, relaxed environment, free from distractions like phones, televisions or computers.

Next, set a date.  Most of us keep a calendar of some sort, paper or electronic.  Add your date to your calendar like you would any other meeting/event.  Treat it as impossible to reschedule.  You do not push your date back because something else comes up (within reason – obviously things like illness, etc will be the exception.)  Share the time frame for you date with your child and speak of it often leading up to your date.  This helps get/keep your kid excited about the idea of the date, plus adds some accountability for you.

Addison Father Daughter 2014 2After you’ve set a date, plan your date.  Choose an activity that you and your child can do together, that you will both enjoy.  You don’t want to choose something that’s going to make you miserable (if you can at all avoid it) and you certainly want your date to be enjoyable for your child.  Remember, they need to feel like the center of your world, at least for a little bit.  The point of dating your kid, after all, is to connect with your child and reinforce the fact that you love them, care for them and are concerned with what they think and how they feel.  All dates don’t need to be elaborate, but you can jazz it up from time to time.  And, take advantage of pre-planned activities.  The girl and her daddy, their last date night was her school’s Father Daughter Dance.  Date, time and activity all planned by someone else.  I helped her get dressed up and ready.  All daddy had to do was grab some flowers and smile for a few pictures.

When date day comes, be flexible.  Know that depending on your child’s mood or current wants/needs, you may need to adjust your plans.  Just roll with it!  This is the hardest thing for me.  I will admit that.  I am very “follow the plan” driven, but I’m slowly learning to adapt and overcome my issues.

A day or two after your date, spend a few minutes talking to your child about your date.  What did they like?  What didn’t they like?  Would they like to do it again?  Learn from this!  My kids have gotten so skilled at the ‘dates’ idea, we don’t even have to ask anymore… they just tell us.

“I want a date with daddy.  He’s going to take me to see Frozen.”

“I want a mommy date.  McDonald’s please!”

This is Not Burger King

This is not Burger King and you don’t always get to have it your way.  I doubt seeing Frozen…again… is on my husband’s “Top 10 Things I Want To Do This Week” list, he’ll do it.  It’s important to the girl, so it’s important to him.  And, McDonalds?  I’d rather not, but I do.  I might make another suggestion, but if the boy sticks with his McDonald’s request, I’ll take the chicken breast sandwich, please.

I can’t tell you the improvement we’ve seen in our kids’ attitudes, especially the 7 year old and her interactions with her dad, since we started spending quality one on one time with the kids – away from the other parent and child.  She goes to him for help now, still only sometimes, but that’s way more than before.  She wants to talk to him, share her day with him.  The same with our boy.  He is so much more receptive now to having daddy do more for him – which is nice for mommy – but it also means that mommy is freed up to handle other things and have more time to spend with him, doing the things he wants to do.

Do You Date?

Do you go on dates with your children?  What types of things do you enjoy doing together on your dates and what, if any, impact have you seen these dates have on your relationship?

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12 Responses to Making Time To Date…Your Kids

  1. Kelley says:

    Dating your kids so important! I know how hard it is to find the time to spend that on-on-one time with your kids, but whenever I do – we both feel so great after! It definitely improves the relationship you have with your kids on an everyday basis!

    • mamamommymom says:

      It really does! We try to make sure both feel like they have our attention when they need it, but at the same time balance it with helping them understand that sometimes other things take priority. That’s why scheduling dates has been so important for us. We make them a priority.

  2. Kendra says:

    What an awesome experience for your kids. They will have great memories of these dates.

  3. You are so right that spending quality time is just as important (and sometimes more important) than the quantity of time. It’s so great that you and your husband will choose times to put your wants to the side and will sit through movies you don’t necessarily like and food that isn’t your favorite because it’s hers.

    • mamamommymom says:

      We really try! Now, at one point last week, my husband did say “I can’t eat McDonalds again tonight” but that was ok. Between the two kids, he literally ate there three times last week! We all try very hard to make sure that we aren’t being selfish in our relationships – after all, all relationships should be give and take!

  4. We do try to make it a point to do things with our daughter like go to the movies, take her to build in grow at lowes, go out to lunch or just play barbies. I definitely could do better because I know I said I’m too busy right now far to often.

  5. Deanna Ritz says:

    I can’t tell you how much I love this! I haven’t started this yet and really really want to. My boys are 4 and 3 and I know that it is the perfect time. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  6. Love this post. Such a great take on it!

  7. Carly says:

    I absolutely love this!

  8. Jamie says:

    I enjoy these times we get to have with each individual kid…they seem to love it too!

  9. Thank you for this great article!
    It’s important to emphasize that it doesn’t have to cost at all to go on a date with your kids. They will appreciate the attention you give them and won’t care at all if you didn’t spend a dime for that date. Take them to a park on a nice picnic or just go bike riding. It doesn’t matter what you do kids simply enjoy having one-on-one time with their parents.

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