How to date your kids
Put effort in to planning. Plan ahead. Letting our kids know when the parent-child date is going to be gives them something special to look forward to. Make it consistent. We try to aim for at least once a month with each kid. Also, we make sure to stick with the date because…it is something special they’ve been looking forward to. As a side note–Make sure you plan for any supplies you may need (sunscreen, snacks, water, etc.) because nothing is worse than getting to the mountain to ski only to realize you left the skis at home. With that said, inevitably it will happen. Improvise. Crunch around in the snow, build a snowman, have hot cocoa in the lodge. Make it into an adventure.
Be distraction free–the most important part of the date. Put away all distractions and put your focus on your kids where it should be. Fully unplug and refrain from multitasking on a “date.” It’s important for each child to feel connected to us and that we value our time with them. It’s hard to do when there is a phone or other distraction in the way even if it’s “quickly responding to this text”…they are noticing. Tailor each date to each child’s own individual love language. What may be exciting to one of your kids may bore another completely. Remember, you’re dating your children individually so figure out what each one would be interested in doing or trying and it’s not about what you want to do.
Change it up. If you’re constantly doing the same date inevitably it may lose the specialness. Allow them to plan the date every once in awhile. For older kids you can even give them a budget to work with.
Choose something engaging and interactive. Find a way to engage in conversation, not sit idly next to one another. So with that said, if your child decides they really want their special time to be going and seeing a movie then try to find a way to converse afterward.
Show them the ropes and lead by example. If you’re a mom dating a son, insist he hold the door open for you and pull out your chair. If you’re a dad dating a daughter, make sure you’re the one getting the door and the chair…and maybe bring a flower when you “pick her up.” Remember #6 from the list yesterday? Have fun getting dressed up every once in awhile too. Dads dating boys? Try going to a play or do something little more “feminine” every once in awhile to show them that it’s okay to have a softer side. Moms dating daughters? Get them out to a sporting event or don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Show them that is fun too!
Readers–I would love to hear how you date your kids too. I’m always looking for fresh ideas to mix it up.