5 Daddy Date and Mommy Date Ideas for Quality Time With Each of Your Kids
Do they crave a little one-on-one fun time with you?
Time to schedule a daddy date or mommy date with your child!
We asked top parenting bloggers about their best ideas for spending individual time with your children.
In this article, I’ll share five ideas for planning special “dates” with your kids and a few tips to help you make room in your schedule.
Why Take Your Kid on a Date?
Your kids crave alone-time with you. It makes them feel special to have you all to themselves.
You know how important it is—and you love it too—but it can be hard to find the time!
What with work, school, homework and activities, how does a busy parent do it? And if you can find the time, how do you shake things up a little?
We had the same questions, so we asked some busy parenting bloggers to share their tips on making time and finding the right activities.
Here are five ideas for putting together a fun, memorable date for you and your children.
#1: Let the Child Choose
When you’re planning a special outing with one of your kids, before you get too far, ask your child what he or she wants to do. When your child gets to help plan how you spend time together, it will be even more exciting.
Kimberly Huff from Natural Beach Living is a home-schooling mom of five. When she takes her kids out for one-on-one time, she lets them make as many decisions as possible. The way she sees it, “The dates might last a couple of hours, but they will remember it and talk about it for years.”
- Let them choose what to do. Dayna Abraham of Lemon Lime Adventures asked both of her boys what they’d like to do for their outings. One chose visiting a pet adoption center, and the other chose getting a snack and looking at Legos. They ended up with an outing each boy loved and neither was expensive!
- Let them choose where to eat. When Kimberly took her son on a special outing, she let him pick where they ate lunch, what he would order and where they would sit. Your kids feel so good when they’re making the big decisions!
#2: Take It Outside
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard, “Watch me!” more than a few times in a single day. Some one-on-one time outside is the perfect opportunity to give them your undivided attention (and let them burn off some energy!).
If you’re really out and about—on vacation, perhaps—think about what you can do together that you may not be able to do at home. Build sandcastles next to the ocean? Try new foods on a dinner date? Visit a new museum? Take advantage of the new setting.
- Hit the trail! Amanda Boyarshinov‘s husband and daughter head out to a local nature trail to look for alligators, snakes, wild horses and adventure. Don’t have alligators in your neck of the woods? Track other local wildlife (be careful, of course) or learn about trees, leaves and flowers with the Leafsnap app.
- Find local community events. Does your town have outside concerts in the summer? A farmer’s market in the spring or fall? Check online to see what’s coming up in your city and make plans to get in on the fun.
#3: Find Hidden Moments
With your family’s busy schedule, it can be hard to put consistent one-on-one time on the calendar. But kid dates don’t always have to be planned. The trick is to take advantage of impromptu moments. Sometimes you can work in a mini-date by looking for the hidden free minutes in your daily routines.
- Use a bedtime routine. Kim Vij, who works with Amanda at The Educators’ Spin On It, takes advantage of her family’s evening routine to make special time with each child. Each child selects books to read, then has a bath and evening massage time. “It’s just a way to connect at the end of every day together after a family dinner.”
- Find your family’s rhythm. Stephanie Meade, who writes InCultureParent, has two kids close in age. Since it’s a struggle to separate them to go “out” on a date, she works with what she has. One child is an earlybird and one is a night owl. She spends precious time with each while the other one is sleeping. “As a working mom, I love this time we have together since I never quite feel like I have enough time to spend with them.”
- Take advantage of the in-between minutes. Mia Wenjen‘s kids go to school at different times. That 30-minute in-between time became prime time for a daddy-daughter date. They went to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts—her choice. “He only did this 4 or 5 times, but she has very fond memories of those brief daddy dates!”
#4: Change It Up
- Take a field trip. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Claire Heffron from The Inspired Treehouse recently took her child to the airport to watch the planes take off and the luggage go around the baggage carousels. “I can tell a difference in behavior and in our connection with each other after each special trip.”
- Join a class. If you want to get away from the house for a bit, check to see if local stores have inexpensive or free child-friendly classes. Home Depot and Lowes have a few. Amanda Boyarshinov takes advantage of those classes with her daughter. Kids love them because they get to take their projects home and they can earn pins and badges for their aprons.
- Let your child take you out! Our own associate editor, Jennifer Ballard, has two boys. One year, she and her husband gave each of their kids restaurant gift cards to be used to take Mom or Dad out to eat. “The boys felt so grown up to make the plans, invite us and pay for the meals all by themselves!”
#5: Build a Tradition
Children thrive on consistency. Traditions are something to look forward to, whether it’s monthly or yearly. If it works for your schedule, set up regular one-on-one time with each child.
- Make it a monthly thing. Becky Morale of Kid World Citizen is a mom of four. Every month she has Super Noche with one of her children. This “super night” can be anything—the kids get to choose (a favorite for the boys is throwing rocks in the river—cheap and easy!). “The best part is that all of the focus is on that child, and he or she ends up talking and talking, reveling in the attention (and finally not being interrupted by siblings!).”
- Make it an annual thing. Jacquie Fisher of KC Edventures has a son and a daughter who both like very different things, so they started a tradition for each. She and her daughter go to a museum once a year and she and her son go to movies based on books (they both read the book first). She has other one-on-one time throughout the year, but these yearly traditions are important.
Some Final Thoughts…
Make individual time with each of your kids a priority. If you have a new baby, have made a big life change or just want to connect a little more, dates with your child make you both feel special. Just one hour alone with you can create a lifetime of memories.
What do you think? How are you connecting with your kids? We’d love to hear examples of your favorite one-on-one activities! Please leave a comment or photo below.
Images from iStockPhoto.
Kristin Ammerman is a mom, creative writer and the evangelist of fun for My Kids' Adventures. Her three kids love that their mom's job includes trying out new family activities. Other posts by KJ Ammerman »