If you don’t go on dates with your kids, you should.
I remember when I was a kid, still living in Miami, probably about 8 or 9 years old. My aunt was in the Army and she would come and visit us a few times a year. But what I remember most about her visits is that on every single visit she would take me away from my house, my mom, my life, and spend a quality hour or two just to talk to me. One memory sticks out vividly. She took me to a pond outside of the Baptist hospital in Miami and we fed the ducks. And just talked. About me.
I had never had another adult so interested in me, look me in the eye, and take time to get on my level. I couldn’t verbalize it then but she made me feel important. And special. My Aunt Sandy continues to do this to this day, purposing her time. We have had some amazing conversations over the years. She is a big reason I became a Christian and a homeschool mom. And without living parents, she is the closest thing I have to a mother. She has also purposed her time with all three of my own kids, on every visit. I don’t know that they will really appreciate this gift until they are older but you can’t help but love her! I don’t think she will ever fully know her impact upon me either.
Going on a date with my kids occurred to me only a couple summers ago when one of my daughters mentioned that we rarely did anything together, just the two of us. We homeschool, so we are together a lot. But special time is not something I had purposed. And it isn’t the same as being home all day with each other. It is time set aside.
I decided to be intentional about our time. Over the last several summers, I asked my girls what they would like to do for our date. Not only is there an anticipation to the date, we both really look forward to it, but I can individualize it to my relationship with that child. For example, my oldest girl and I love to go thrift store shopping. This kind of date wouldn’t be nearly as special with my middle daughter who does not love thrift stores.
The point is, you have about 18 summers with your kids. Less if you are mid-way through raising them. Purpose this time. Ask questions. Find out what makes your kid tick. I promise you won’t regret it.
If you don’t go on dates with your kids, you should!
Ideas to get started:
- Let your child choose the date. It helps them to get excited about it and helps you to discover what your child likes to do.
- Put the date on your calendar.
- Don’t incorporate chores and errands into your date if you can help it. True store: My ‘kill 2 birds with 1 stone’ attitude left my daughter feeling less than special. She described it as a date with Brick from The Middle.
- It doesn’t have to be a day trip, special bedtime routines or those 30 minutes in between appointments and school all count.
- Make it a tradition. Do it monthly, quarterly, or during the summer every year. I have a friend whose husband takes a different child out for breakfast every Saturday.
- Pray that God would reveal the heart of your child. Ask them what they are struggling with. Pray with them. It is amazing how they will open up to you.
And the date doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. The point is the time spent one on one, together, investing in each other. Lunches and meals out are good, easy to do, and force you to sit across the table and look at each other and just simply talk. Here are some ideas of simple dates you could do with your kids, most we have done together.
- Paint &/or decorate your child’s bedroom, together
- road trips: drive to short distance destinations
- college tour trip
- spend time together at a coffee shop
- eat lunch at a special restaurant or one you haven’t tried before
- thrift store shopping
- get manicures together
- go mall walking and people watching
- movie & a treat
- ride bikes
- cloud watch
- go picnicking
- visit a museum
- play a board game
- have a slumber party for 2
- go for a walk or hike, plan a 5k
- get an inexpensive makeover, or do one yourself
- attend a play
- go fishing
- give them $20 and let them spend it for your date any way they wish
- movie marathon
- paint or do some sort of artistic venture such as pottery or building Legos™, together
Want to see how special you can make a date with your kids? I would have given all the tea in China for a dad such as the one who took his daughter on her first date. He started young. Click here to watch the Best First Date.
What are some things you have done with your kids?