No, I’m really serious.
Go on a date with your kids.
Mike and I stumbled upon this idea when our kids were tiny. I remember taking Jensen to one of those trampoline set ups where he was hooked into straps, bouncing and flipping to his hearts content. Emma went with her Dad to dinner at Red Lobster one time while Jensen and I stayed home, ordered pizza and watched a movie together.
There’s no wrong way to do it, but I found that in the past few years of dating our kids, we each seem closer as a result.
I firmly believe that it is crucial to our family for each of us to be comfortable with where we fit in. Chores and general responsibility truly help this. How encouraging is it to hear from a parent that a child is NEEDED? It’s vital. Our kids need to hear that they bring value to our family.
But going on dates and enjoying a laid back experience together is also important.
For instance, sometimes Emma really needs some extra time with her dad. I am usually the first to notice, and I will tell Mike, “Hey, Babe, it might be good for Emma for you to take her out on a date.”
We try to plan something within the next few days, and I take Jensen out at the same time. Now, I understand that this works somewhat seamlessly as we have two kids, but it is worth it to figure out how to spend one on one time individually with each kid even if you have a larger family. They certainly will appreciate your effort.
As the oldest of seven siblings, I certainly did.
I remember a few times that my dad took me out on a date when I was a little kid. Those memories still stay with me to this day.
Does it have to be expensive? Nope, it sure doesn’t. In February, Mike took Jensen on a hike in the Redwoods (free) while Emma and I went to the library to scour the shelves for new Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (also free).
Does it have to be well planned? Definitely not, as many times one of the kids needs that one on one time and the other kid is doing okay. Last week, Emma and I had a planned “girls day” which included eating sushi and getting our nails done.
At the last minute, Mike realized that if he dropped us off at the nail salon, he and Jensen could grab some Chick-fil-A before they had to meet us back at karate class. The impromptu date for Mike and Jensen during the scheduled date for Emma and I, worked out wonderfully for the boys.
Does it need to be often? That depends on what your kids need. Again, our dates with our kids revolve around the observation that one of the kids needs to hang out with one of us. That demands some attention on our part. If you are unable to be that attentive due to schedule or whatever, then just make it a built in occurrence.
As a mom, I am always wondering if I’m doing a good job, and I even doubt myself at times. However, these date times with my kids really help me understand them as individuals a little more and allow me to slow down while enjoying these little people God has given me.
Parenting and family life is a glorious adventure!