How To Date Your Kids

How To Date Your Kids

He sits up to the island while I prep for dinner. My mind is racing with all that I’m pressed to accomplish by the end of the day. I ask him about his day and he begins to answer, but I fail to give him my full attention and our conversation is easily dissolved with distractions, interruptions, and the tyranny of the urgent. Emails, phone calls, wiping up spills, running errands, and all the other everyday necessities in life sometimes leave us feeling as if things of lesser importance get the best of us–the attentive, responsive, happy, and interested– and that our children often get grumpy, tired, nothing-left-to-give Mom.

We make time for what is important to us. But for moms of several children, it may be a tremendous challenge to squeeze time in each day to prioritize each child in a way that reflects the importance they hold in our lives. Just as with all other priorities in our lives– exercise, time with God, health, or keeping in touch with far away loved ones– if you don’t plan to prioritize something, it won’t be one.

And when you seek to prioritize someone, you plan to spend time with that person. Intentional time with our kids individually doesn’t have to be elaborate, expensive, or even terribly extensive in time. It need only be purposeful and special, simply on account of being one-on-one time with that child.

Here are some ideas on how to date your kids (or rather my kids!)

Some ways to start planning for quality time together:

1. Schedule dinner out with each of your children, once a month.

2. Run an errand with just one child, and pick up a special drink at Starbucks.

3. Ask your child to make a list of questions you can ask him/her on your date. And you do the same.

4. Going out for a movie can be quality time, but doesn’t offer much by way of conversation…unless you go out for ice cream afterwards.

5. Consider a no-electronic devices rule!

6. Make the most of Sonic’s Happy Hour menu, and steal away with one of your children, if possible, and enjoy a heart to heart over shakes at the park.

7. Do you or your teen need exercise? Go on a hike or brisk walk with just him/her, and enjoy the concentrated time to talk and enjoy the outdoors.

8. Choose a project to do together, and make the relationship the focus, not the task.

How do you spend precious alone time with each of your children? What creative “date” ideas work for you? Please share!

Because of grace,

Ruth Simons,

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  1. says

    I run once a week with my teenage son. I run twice a week with my 11 yr old daughter and I bike once a week with my 13 yr old son. (of course this is all in good weather months). Although the workout time does not always allow for conversation (they are younger and faster) the cool down and warm up time is when we do a lot of one on one talking and I have grown closer to all my children in those times. I also love that they asked me to join my workouts.

  2. Angela Hall says

    What about young children? I have 1,3,5,and 7 year old kiddos. Sometimes I take 1 with me on errands, but the baby is usually along also. My older 2 are girls so sometimes I just take them shopping. But what about my 3yo boy? What can I do with just him?

    • Christine says

      color with him…draw pictures of your family…I can usually snag my 4yo son away from my girls for just us time…it might only last 10 minutes, but he loves it.

    • SarahMc says

      I take my 4 yr. old son to Lowes sometimes. I let him wander on his time. He talks my ear off about all the tools and He loves sitting on the lawn mowers too. It’s so fun to watch him get so excited! I love those precious moments with my kids.

  3. Kathleen Henderson says

    What a timely list for me. We recently decided to schedule a once-a-month date night with our kids. We have only two kids at the moment (with another on the way), so we’re each taking one child on the same night. Tonight is our first night! I’ve been mulling over ideas for future dates, especially given the colder weather and early sunsets. Cold, dark nights kind of rule out most of the outside/nature type activities. And our youngest is three, which poses a bit of a challenge as well. Tonight, my husband is taking the 7yo bowling and the 3yo is staying home with me for a PBJ picnic on the floor and a short, favorite movie from the library. I love your list of ideas, and hope to add more of my own. Thanks for this!

  4. Heidi A says

    These are great. I like the little “getaway” ideas. What I have been doing for my littles (7, 5, 5, 3) is letting each one stay up with me to talk/snuggle while the others go to take a nap. 3-5 minutes one on one seems a long time for them especially when siblings are in bed!

  5. SandraT says

    Awesome article, thanks. I was looking for this type of inspiration. And the yellow handbag in the picture rocks. Where can I get one? ;)

  6. says

    Love these ideas! Playing chess with my oldest is one that means a lot to him. Thanks for reminding us of how important the one on one time is for our kids. Blessings!

  7. Jamie says

    My husband and I take each of our 3 boys out for date night once a month. They usually get to plan the evening (within reason). They look so forward to their night. It is neat to see each of their personalities come out in their choices. One likes loud, fast paced environments and one likes quiet, easy-going dates and the other one is just starting to out with us as he just turned 3. We also try to take one of them alone to run errands when the other one is home to watch the other 2.

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