5 Daddy Date and Mommy Date Ideas for Quality Time With Each of Your Kids

Are your kids shouting over their siblings, clamoring for your undivided attention?

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.

Five ideas for planning special one-on-one

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.”

boy looking up

Let your kids decide how to spend your time together. It makes them feel powerful and gives you insight into what they truly enjoy. Image source: iStockPhoto.


  • 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

Don’t forget the ease of just being outside. Taking a walk, riding bikes or drawing with chalk on the sidewalk are fun ways to spend time together. The fresh air will do them good!

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.

family at lake

Spend some one-on-one time doing something outdoors with your kids. You’ll both enjoy the fresh air, activity and time shared together. Image source: iStockPhoto.


  • 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.

recycling bottles

Find time in your day-to-day routine to spend with kids individually.  Image source: iStockPhoto.


  • 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

You’ve done the park. You’ve done the zoo. You’ve done the shopping, eating out and movies. Now what? It’s time to start thinking out of the box.

father son bowling

Try something new together. Join a class (or a bowling league). Image source: iStockPhoto.


  • 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.

mother daughter lunch

Start a special annual or monthly tradition with each of your kids based on their interests. Image source: iStockPhoto.


  • 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.

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About the Author, KJ Ammerman

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 »

  • http://NiklasMyhr.com/ Niklas Myhr, Ph.D.

    Thanks for a great post! I particularly like that you talk both about the need to schedule these things so they actually happen while also leaving the door open to improvisation and spur-of-the moment outings. The former has the downside that IF the world changes so that you actually do need to “reschedule,” a child can have more difficulties dealing with that than a business acqaintance. Also, the latter has the benefit that it can actually generate big smiles “like, you mean we can do this right now?” The solution for us sometimes is to reserve a block of time in the calendar but not tell the kids until we are sure it will work out and then you “spontaneously” tell the child. Then you get the best of both worlds :)

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, KJ! I love the idea of taking a class or going somewhere new and making that your “special thing” together. Lots of great memories to be made!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Niklas – That’s a genius idea! I wish I would’ve thought of that for the article! I’m so glad you shared that because I know that it’s going to be the perfect solution for parents who have meetings/projects/teams that they need to be flexible with for work. Brilliant!!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thanks, Jennifer! That was actually Amanda Boyarshinov’s idea and I loved it. Once I remembered that stores like Home Depot offered classes, I started noticing other similar opportunities around town more. I think it’s all about top-of-mind awareness and being on the lookout for fun activities that work well with your family schedule.

  • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com/ AllieRambles

    I love your idea of getting the gift card and letting them take mom or dad out, what a neat idea.

    My kids are teens now and it can be difficult to get them to go out with me or dad anymore but I think I found out how.

    My son is 15 and I really feel like I don’t have much in common with him anymore except outdoor adventures so I signed us up for the Zombie Fun Run. I am so excited to do it with him.

    My daughter is 13 and into art so we take time to go into the city and head to an art museum then have a artsy lunch too.

    Thanks for the ideas!


  • http://NiklasMyhr.com/ Niklas Myhr, Ph.D.

    No worries, anytime, keep blogging, looking forward to more!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thank you for chiming in with your ideas, Allie! The Zombie Fun Run is new to me, so I googled them. Who knew they were a thing?! They might be scary for little kids, but I can see how a 15-year old would be into them! I love that even with busy teenagers, you’re still looking for ways to spend time with your kids.
    I hope Jennifer’s gift card idea is such a hit that it becomes a new tradition at your house! Glad you found something in the article that resonated with you :)

  • Angela Quisumbing

    This is such a great post with such an important message. Before my son was born I took my daughter on a special date. We went for tea in Balboa Park (for those who live in San Diego.) It was a perfect plan for just us girls. I love that you share tips. Having two kids now, I definitely understand the importance of these special dates. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thank you for sharing your date in the park idea! Especially because right after your baby was born, they probably got a lot of attention. Great idea to spend time with your daughter and let her know she’s still special :) I know that you continue your tradition of spending time with each of your kids and I think that’s awesome!

  • Kathleen Gooch

    Great idea for quick grandparent dates. Kids need individual time with us, too. Love the ideas.

  • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com/ AllieRambles

    Yes, that gift card idea I believe would even be a hit for older kids that don’t have jobs. I think my teens would be excited to take me or dad out.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Glad you liked the idea Allie! We did it when my boys were smaller (gift cards to IHOP & McDonalds) but I love the idea of continuing the tradition into the teenage years. Great way to stay connected.

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    I love this post! It’s so important as parents that we carve time out for our little ones that is just about spending time with them. I plan something every weekend for my daughter and I to have “girl dates”. Sometimes we just do regular stuff with a twist – for example, I found a local car wash that has a lounge area that has free cookies and pretzels. She thinks that’s the neatest thing. She actually gets excited when I say we need to go to the car wash – so get something done and we have a little “date” at the car wash :)

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thanks for saying “hi” today! I know you carve out time with your individual grandkids and that’s awesome! Grandparents are busy, too! So it’s fantastic that you make the extra effort to get one-on-one time with the grandkids!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Hi Crystal! I love that you turn a regular activity (a chore even!) do into special one-on-one time. Doing it every week is amazing. Do you think the trick to regularly doing “dates” is to doing something that isn’t “big”?

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    Yes! We have “big” dates every now and then, but sometimes we just have girl time and it’s sharing a treat at Starbucks and chatting. She likes to order her decaf mocha (aka chocolate milk) and we just hang out. Sometimes when we’re out doing other chores – we have car picnics! We pick up snacks – park the car somewhere safe and scenic and she likes to hop into the front seat (like a big girl) and we have our snacks and chat. Just carving that time together out of a “regular” day makes it memorable and all in all I think kids just want our time – they don’t really mind what we’re actually doing as long as we make it fun!! We’re all busy with work/school, etc. Our time is our most precious commodity so sharing it with our kids when we are short on time is a priority. Thus we need My Kids’ Adventures!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    So many of the mom’s I talked to said similar things and I have to say it’s *refreshing* to know that parents who are making the one-on-one time happen aren’t shooting for big, huge events to make quality time. They just spend the time and know the quality will come! Thanks so much for sharing specifics! It helps me and I hope it will inspire others, too!

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    If we wait for only the huge events, sometimes they don’t happen so make the time/moments we have into quality ones – whenever we can! :) I even go out of my way to shop at the grocery store that has the little kid carts because my daughter looks forward to it so she can push her own card – I love making my “errands” fun!

  • Go Go Grana

    Enjoyed and appreciate the article and ideas in the comments. For my 5 grandchildren’s birthdays and Christmas “gifts” I give them Grana Days or Overnights – depending on their ages. They’re 20 months to 8 years, and our activities have included: going to a zoo, aquarium, air field, movie; visiting museums with hands-on activities; bowling; hiking; swimming; lunch at a restaurant; playing board & card games; baking treats to eat and to take home to their families. The one commonality is that there’s ice cream involved. Activities have been a combination of their ideas, parents’ ideas, and my suggestions. I look forward to having them do all the planning.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    What a great idea! Giving your grandkids “dates” for Christmas is wonderful. I think when kids are young, they want more time than things. Sure, they want things, but I think what they really crave is attention and love. Always having ice cream makes that your “grandma theme”, right? Awesome! They’ll remember that forever :)

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