Do you ever notice how you can get through an entire day and realize you didn't necessarily hear any one specific thing that your child said to you. Sure you heard words coming out of their mouths. But did you really acknowledge, listen, process and respond? I am guilty of responding to my kids with a lot of selective hearing and half-hearted, Mmhmm, sure Hun's, or a lot of, In a minute Hun, I can't right now's.
This is why my Husband and I are huge proponents of making time for one-on-one dates with our children. So we can really listen and really see them. Over the years, it's been fun to come up with special outings with each of our kids that they now look forward to with great anticipation. A lot of times they are planned in advance. But sometimes they are spur-of-the moment. Both are fun!
I know I don't have to outline all the benefits of what intentional time with each child does for their character development, self-esteem, and desire to communicate with you. It fosters trust, vulnerability, and deep connection. Those precious moments alone with your child are opportunities to hear whats on their hearts and minds. My goal is to create a few memorable traditions with my kids individually, and at the same time, lay the groundwork for open communication and vulnerability. I would love for my 5 and 6 year olds to someday grow into teenagers who aren't afraid to tell me whats really going on in their heads. My hope is that one-on-one time always feels completely normal to them. And maybe, just maybe.... it is something they will prioritize, even as they grow older and I'm not the coolest person in their world anymore. A mom can dream right?
I thought I would share a few ideas for Mommy dates that my family has enjoyed. I've separated them out between ideas for daughters and ideas for sons but of course many of them work for either gender!
// MOMMY DATES WITH DAUGHTERS
- Plan a menu, grocery shop, and cook an entire meal together then serve it to your family.
- Go on a Staycation in your own city and stay in a fun hotel overnight.
- Go out for breakfast and share a giant plate of pancakes.
- Visit the bookstore and pick out a new book.
- See a musical or play.
- Shopping at Claire's (I set a $10 budget).
- Have a Picnic in the yard.
- Attend an Afternoon Tea at a fancy Tea Room.
- Take turns going to your favorite clothing stores and trying on clothes or fancy dresses, just for fun.
- Treasure hunt at Goodwill.
- Treasure hunt at an Antique Store.
- Attend a live music show or concert.
- Volunteer together at the SPCA or Homeless Shelter.
- Go on a roadtrip to visit out-of-town friends or family, just the two of you. Make a fun playlist for the car.
- Visit a coffee shop for hot chocolate & dessert.
- Get a manicure or pedicure together.
- Go on a nature walk.
- Craft or paint together.
// MOMMY DATES WITH SONS
- Attend a sporting event and buy a souvenir.
- See a movie and share a large popcorn.
- Go to Skyzone Gym or play Laser Tag together.
- Ride a train.
- Discover a new trail and go for a bike ride together.
- Go hiking and pack a lunch.
- Cook his favorite meal at home and eat together. Use the fancy dishes and cloth napkins.
- Play Wii or XBox with him. Start your own tournament.
- Go for a jog together.
- Go bowling.
- Play a board game and have plenty of his favorite snacks on hand.
- Visit a Museum with a Dinosaur exhibit.
- Visit a theme park or carnival.
- Shoot hoops or have a free throw competition.
- Go mini-golfing.
- Set up a fort (indoors or out).
- Go out for ice cream.
- Go ice-skating.
Do you go on dates with your children? I would love to hear additional ideas in the comments section!