Date Your Kids Too



Date Your Kids TooWhen you have a baby, you have nothing but one-on-one time with your new little one. Every moment seems to be spent learning about your baby’s likes and dislikes, and meeting their individual needs. Then life gets more complicated as your child grows and more children are added into the mix. Quality time gets harder to carve out as schedules get busier and free time shrinks. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself just going through the motions and not really connecting with your kids.

They say you should never stop dating your spouse, but don’t forget to keep dating your children too.

I am all for family outings and togetherness, but it’s so amazing to get to know your kids individually. Intentional one-on-one time allows you to grow your relationship with each child. You learn about what they truly like and how they feel. You get to see all the little things that make them special. They aren’t under the pressure to compromise what they want for what a sibling wants. They don’t get lost in the shuffle while another sibling’s needs are being met. And as parent you get to be fully present and focused on just one child.

I can still remember how my dad used to take me to the mall when I was a little kid. We would get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and go play with the trains in the toy store. As I got older, our one-on-one time changed, but it still happened. He would take me to Lady Vols games and on trips to the Kentucky Horse Park. As the second oldest of four kids, that special time meant the world to me. And now that I am a parent myself, I am even more appreciative of our time together because I know coordinating it couldn’t have been easy.

I want my children to have those special dates with me and my husband to look back on too. I want them to remember going to father-daughter dances, shopping trips, walks around the neighborhood, and beating us in Candyland. I want them to remember how special they felt when they got to pick the restaurant and sit with just their mom or dad and talk about anything and everything they wanted.

The dates don’t always need to be fancy.  Simply running an errand or spending time together at home is perfectly fine with both of my twins. My oldest loves to go to Trader Joe’s with me to pick out groceries and her twin sister loves to just be at home with me or my husband playing board games. It’s not about what we are doing. My girls just like to have our full attention all to themselves.

Our dates became especially important when we recently added a baby to the family.

The dates look a little different, but we still make a point to have them. Sometimes we do things with just our older two girls and leave the baby with the other parent. It makes them feel grown up to do activities that their younger sister isn’t old enough for yet. It also helps us to reconnect with them since so much of our time right now is consumed by taking care of a baby.

Maybe I am naïve, but I hope that these dates we go on now will help our relationship down the road. Hopefully, it will help set a precedence in those angsty teen years to keep me in the loop with what’s going on in their lives. I realize one day it’s going to be hard to convince my girls to go on dates with me. It won’t be cool or exciting to hang out with me or their dad anymore. But for now, I am going to soak up all the time and go on as many dates with them as I can.


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