Date your kids, they said. What in the world does that mean? What if it means we get dedicated time to invest in our children individually? I know time is limited, but time is also short, meaning our children are only in our homes for a limited period. These years are important and will be the foundation of our relationship for the rest of our lives. If family matters, so do the individuals in the family. My sons have absolutely thrived as we have developed the family practice of dating them!
What does a "date" mean?
It's simple, really. Dating our kids means carving out intentional one on one time with them. It can be fancy or simple. It can mean leaving the house or sitting at home and doing something together. Here are some basics that help us intentionally date our children:
1. Decide where.
2. Decide what.
3. Plan for conversation and interaction.
Where is of course the first thing to figure out. In our family, it is usually a favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Be sure and keep reading so you get our entire list of ideas below! If you decide to stay home, you can still make this a special time (see the list for ideas).
What is another important thing to think through. Board games, a picnic in the yard, or even doing some art together can be wonderful ways to connect individually at home. Even when we go out somewhere, I typically bring along a couple picture books or a card game as an ice breaker.
Planning for conversation cannot be overlooked. Sometimes our kids need help with this part. Consider your child, pray over them beforehand. Ask God to help you connect with their heart directly.
Come along on a date with us!
Okay! It is date day with my youngest. He is five and a sweetie pie (loves to kiss his mama and be held). How about you come along with us and see what this date your child stuff is all about.
This is a surprise date, I didn't forewarn him. He tends to be my early riser, so this morning, when he wakes, I whisper to him to get dressed so we can go off together. He snuggles me and gets wiggly and excited and then scampers off to dress. I put on a nice dress (want to look good on our date) and do my hair quickly. Then we are off! I mention to him we are headed to a favorite coffee shop and while in the car I ask him about the last time we went there. He recalls in great detail and is very excited. As we arrive, I mention that when gentlemen take a lady on a date, they often open doors for her and treat her with great respect. He nods seriously and we walk into the shop (he opens the door for his mama).
We order (my treat, but he scans our card and orders whatever he wants) and then head to a quiet spot of his choice. We begin reading one of his favorite books (Richard Scarry, of course). He jumps about, in and out of my lap and enjoys the story. Our food and tea arrive, we pray and eat. While eating I ask him about his week, what his favorite part was, what he hoped we would do soon, etc. Our little conversation is a treasure to my mama heart and I keep my phone put away while I connect with him and give him my complete attention.
As we finish up, I mention that one day he may like a girl very much and decide to take her on a date. I tell him that I know he will be an amazing friend and know just how to treat a lady because he is so good to his mama. He hugs and kisses me and we walk out holding hands.
This is a typical date with my five year old. It is sweet and so important to our relationship. It is in these moments that I catch special glimpses into his heart and I know we are forging a strong foundation for our future.
I have no clue how to start, help!
Starting new things can be intimidating. We have created two lists to help you and your children get off to a great start dating one another. You can grab them both FREE! Simply click the link and download them now.
One way you can use these is to offer them to your children and let them choose your date. You can also add to them from your own ideas and what may work best for your family.
It is my great hope that this post inspired you to consider dating your kids. It is a worthwhile endeavor that will reap years of fruit in your relationship. Be sure and follow along on our Instagram where I share even more about how we kindle a family culture of togetherness.