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, gracelaced.com