Since Joe + I were first married, we knew we wanted to have a big family. We both have close relationships with our siblings and wanted the same for our kids too! Along with having a big family, comes a BUSY schedule. Sometimes it feels like we are constantly on the go. As parents, one of our top concerns + focuses was if each of our people is getting enough one on one time. Having that strong bond individually with each of them is so important to us, so we started what we call our Kid Dates. I shared a little about doing this around Christmas and had a lot of questions, so I thought I’d share some tips we’ve learned from doing our Kid dates + some fun ideas we’ve done or are dying to try!
KEEP IT SIMPLE…
I think my number one tip when it comes to Kid Dates is to keep it simple. It does not have to be a big huge deal. When we first started, I always tried to make a big production out of every dtate. I was worried the little people wouldn’t appreciate it or feel special enough if it wasn’t something big. I was so wrong. The dates they talk about most are the trips to Target or a quick ice cream run.
DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR SCHEDULE…
With our schedule being so hectic + crazy most of the time, it is easy to talk myself out of these kid dates being important. So for us, that means sometimes when I need to go run errands, I grab Hayden too and make it a special one on one. Letting her roam her favorite aisles hand in hand and knowing all my attention is sometimes what we both need. Another example is taking advantage of sports practice. If Hunter has soccer practice, that gives us an hour or two. We can each take one of the bigs and a baby, and go do something to put the focus on them for a little while. It might seem impossible at first, but you can always work it in.
DON’T LET BUDGET STOP YOU…
A lot of times not having extra money in the budget can pop up as an excuse. We have been there. When money is tight it feels like kid dates can be pushed aside. But the date is not about how much money you can spend. It doesn’t always have to be going out and doing an activity. With Hudson, sometimes his favorite “date” is getting one on one time with Joe to work on baseball, or build Legos. Hunter loves to bake and a night with just the two of us making cookies while Joe keeps the rest of the people downstairs is sometimes just what she needs.
I also like to use holiday gifts to help pay for Date nights. For Valentines Day this year, we gave all of our people $10 Gift Cards to Target, because we knew it would go towards a future one on one or family date night! Something about using their “own money” makes it so much more fun too!
I hope these simple tips we’ve learned can help you to make dating your kids a priority. The bond it has helped us form with each of our little people as individual people is priceless. Giving them that space to just open up and know you’re focus is on them. They are all so unique + it lets them open up and just kind of be themselves and talk about whatever they need/want to. I love it so much and know you will too! I thought I’d share 15 of my favorite ideas for Kid Dates that we have done or are wanting to try soon!
- Go Out for Ice Cream : you can never go wrong with ice cream! Let them choose their favorite flavor + toppings…or share a giant sundae together!
- Head to an Arcade : This is one Joe + Hudson would love! Loading them up with their own bag of quarters makes it that much more exciting.
- Grocery Shopping : this sounds crazy but letting them be in charge + pick a few of their favorites is so much fun!
- Get a Mani/Pedi : This is one the girls and I choose a lot. They love feeling more grown up by getting pampered + it is a great place to get them talking about whats going on in their lives. When the budget or schedule is tight, we have done spa dates at home too!
- Color Me Mine : this is a local kid friendly pottery painting place I can’t wait to try!
- Go to Breakfast : switch things up from a dinner date and let them be a little late for school one day so you can go out to breakfast! The thrill of missing a little time of school will make it feel even more special + something your kids will love!
- Surprise Lunch : Surprise your kids by checking them out of school for a lunch date of their choice! My mom did this when we were little and it is one of my favorite memories!
- Go Bowling or Mini Golfing : I don’t know what it is about kids + bowling/mini golf, but it is always a hit! The independence + excitement of the competition always makes it so fun.
- Dress Up Dinner : This one I know Hayden would die over. Put on fancy clothes and go out to dinner. You can secretly sneak in teaching them proper dinner manners too! haha!
- Play at the Park Playground : It sounds so simple, but getting to actually play with you on the monkey bars or slides is so much fun. Usually I am distracted and don’t actually get in there and play, so we have loved this simple idea.
- Lego or Craft : Pick out a fun Lego set or craft and then build it, just the two of you.
- Go to their Favorite Store : This is the dream date for Hayden + Hunter. Letting them pick where to go (usually Target!) and roam the aisles they want with zero interruptions is a favorite.
- Make their favorite treat : Have your spouse take your other people downstairs or somewhere other than the kitchen and have a baking night. Let them pick the treat and actually help make it. If you have time, you could even throw in shopping for the ingredients! You can serve your yummy treat to the rest of the family.
- Go on a Picnic : Let them pick the foods to make and pack. Hayden + I have even done this at home while the kids were at school and the babies were napping.
- Backyard Campout : This is another one I could see Joe + Hudson loving!! Keep it simple and sleep on the tramp or go big and set up a tent!
It really does not matter what you do, your kids just need that time with you and only you! They remember the littlest most simple things the most. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite things to do with your little people are so I can add them to the list!