Lets be honest with ourselves for a moment. Parenting is hard work, it’s busy work, and can leave us drained both emotionally and physically each and every day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mom and consider it a great joy to be raising our children. There is honestly nothing I would rather do. Sometimes though, mom needs a time out. Guess what, our kids sometimes need a time out right along with us. I’m not talking about time out as in a punishment, I’m talking about a time out from the daily routine. A chance to have some individual one on one time with mom (or dad) without their other siblings tagging along. It’s important to take our kids on a “date”.
I don’t have to tell you what I mean when I say parenting is hard and draining (even though it is so very rewarding). If you’ve been a parent for more than a week you already know this. But what about our kids? How often do they ask each day for our time in the form of playing a game, going to the park, being pushed on the swing? How often do we say, not now buddy, mommy needs to wash the dishes, do the laundry, cook dinner…and the list goes on.
Of course in our house there is the added layer of saying I can’t now buddy I need to help your sister (siblings of special needs kids have it hard too but that’s another post for another day). I wonder how often we can say “not now” to their requests for us to spend time with them before they loose heart and give up.
I think there are benefits to both us as parents and to our kids when we take them on a one on one date (not group date with their siblings).
BENEFITS TO YOUR KIDS
When you take your child on a date you are singling out special time with them. You are making them feel loved and special. It’s a chance to communicate to them just how much they mean to you, and you don’t even need to use words. They know you’re busy and have a thousand things to do, but they see that you’re choosing to ignore all of those other things and spend time with just them. This simple act can fill their emotional buckets very quickly.
They also remember these times. Last winter I took Grasshopper on a hot chocolate date at a local coffee shop. A couple weeks ago (toward the end of summer) we drove by the coffee shop. He said he couldn’t wait for it to be winter again. I asked him why and he replied, “because then we can go on another hot chocolate date”. I was touched that the simple act of taking him out for hot chocolate made such an impression on him.
BENEFITS FOR US (MOM AND DAD)
Whenever I’ve thought about going on a date with our son, I only thought about how it benefits him. But to be honest there are benefits in it for me as well. The conversations we have when our time is focused together are amazing. It’s a great opportunity to really hear his heart. It’s a chance to sit back and remind myself why you’re working so hard in the first place, and be inspired to press on. Of course, it’s also great relationship building time.
The best part of taking your kid on a date, is that they can be simple and inexpensive. Just a half hour activity will be amazing to your kids! There is however one rule, you must leave the house. If you stay home it’s just like any other time you take a break from your to-do list to participate in an activity with them. Plus, if you stay home you still have all the other normal distractions that can so easily call you away. The best way to communicate to your child that your date is a high priority to you is by leaving the house and doing something you don’t do everyday.
Some of our favorite date activities include going out for pizza, ice cream or hot chocolate. They are short, but oh so sweet.
Do you take your kids on dates? I would love to hear some of your date ideas!