Married couples, especially ones with kids, benefit from being intentional about continuing to date each other. Dating is a loaded word. Dates do not need to fall under the stereotypical guidelines of going out to dinner, seeing a movie, and spending lots of money. The purpose of dating is to spend time in each others’ company, share a few laughs, and create loads of memories.
Just as dating your spouse helps to continue a loving, communicative relationship with your husband or wife, dating your children wields similar benefits. Simply by spending time alone with your children, you evidence your love and value for them. Actions speak louder than words, they say. And if your children ever start to question whether you truly love them, simply saying the words “I love you” may not be enough. But memories of past parent-child dates will reassure them of your authentic affection.
Effective parent-child dates only require alone time with you and one child. While it may seem more economical, time and money wise, to bring multiple children along on these date nights, quality alone time must include some one-on-one time. By personally inviting one child to go on a date with you, you make that one child feel valued. You can focus all your attention on that son or daughter as you get to know them better and build bridges of trust and open communication.
So, you like the idea of dating your child but have no idea how to begin? You have come to the right place! Look below for ideas on how to spend quality time with your daughters or sons. Allow these ideas to spark your thoughts and adapt them to fit the age and preferences of your child.
Dating your daughter:
- Take a cooking class
At some point, your daughter will probably become interested in cooking in the kitchen. The kitchen is an extremely dangerous place. Give your daughter the skills and knowledge she needs so that you can comfortably say yes when she asks to help you make cookies or grilled cheese on an indoor grill. Take a cooking class!
- Get pampered
Make your daughter feel like a queen and get pampered together! From manicures to pedicures to facials to hair cuts to makeup, pull out all the stops for a fun beauty day. You can visit a salon or do all these things in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to eat the extra cucumbers!
- Tea party
You know that china set you got for your wedding and haven’t used since then? Now is the time to pull it out! Ask your daughter to dress in her finest to your tea party. Set out little sandwiches, cookies, and other miniature snacks to accompany your tea. And if your daughter isn’t a tea fan, milk or hot chocolate work just as well.
Have you seen a craft in a magazine or online that you would love to try but don’t have an excuse to do so? Well now is your chance! Give you daughter to option of several craft ideas and then shop for the supplies together. Do your best with the crafts, and either impress each other with the results or laugh about how awfully they turned out.
- Slumber party
Even though you technically sleep in the same house with your daughter just about every night, a slumber party is still a treat. Mix up the typical routine of tucking her in and heading to your bedroom at night time. You can kick your husband out of your bed (or politely ask him to sleep elsewhere that is) and invite her to join you in your room. Or you can set up a fun sleeping arrangement elsewhere in the house. Let loose, talk and giggle until you can’t keep your eyes open any longer.
- Stage a photoshoot
Grab some props, some fun outfits, and a camera and viola, you can stage a photoshoot! If your daughter is a little shy, stage the shoot around your house or other locations with few people. But if she is a natural model, take her to some of the most picturesque locations around town. The resulting photos will remind your daughter of all your fun parent-daughter dates.
Dating your son:
If your son is a gamer, you know it can be difficult to pull him away from the computer or television, much less to get him out of the house! Show him that you care about his interests and enjoy being a kid again by spending an afternoon at an arcade.
- Rock climbing
Rock climbing can be a fun and challenging activity for people of all ages. Level the playing field and take your son rock climbing! If you don’t have experience with this activity, your son will enjoy watching you struggle. And if you are familiar with it, you can impress him with your skills. Either way, this date idea is a win-win.
- Attend a sporting event
What sports does your son enjoy? Basketball, baseball, golf, or badminton? Take him to a sporting event that fits his tastes! He won’t mind whether the game is professional, semi-professional, or high school. He won’t soon forget the hotdogs you doused with ketchup, the cheers you made up, or that one incredible play.
- Play sports
Throwing ball is perhaps the most quintessential of all parent-son pastimes. But how many parents still take the time to throw ball with their sons? Depending on your son’s interests and abilities, play catch, toss around a football, throw frisbee, bump volleyball and more. Teach him the skills of the game and the value of sportsmanship.
- Camp out
Grab your sleeping bags and enjoy the great outdoors! Head to the mountains or to the backyard, but either way, treat the event like an excursion. Pack appropriate snacks — beef jerky, s’mores, hotdogs, trail mix, etc. If a body of water is nearby, bring fishing poles, or make them out of fishing line and sticks. In a technology-saturated world, show your son the beauty of nature.
Make a box for your son’s legos. Craft a shelf to hold his trophies. Build a bench for the backyard. Select a project that you know how to create (some research may be necessary) and that your son would enjoy. When you finish the project, he will not only gain a sense of accomplishment, but have something to show off to friends and family members — to show off what you and he created together.
Date ideas for either your son or daughter:
- Pack a picnic
Don’t feel as though you need to travel across the state to find the perfect picnic location. Your backyard or a local park will do just fine! Head to a botanical garden or zoo for an added treat.
Between art museums, technology museums, cultural museums, and more, these institutions are so much more than the ones schools frequent for class field trips. Select a museum that you think your child would enjoy and spend a couple hours learning and exploring!
- Skate park
Nowadays, just about every town has a skate park. Have you ever given yours a chance? Take advantage of the resources you have right at your finger tips and take your child to the skate park! Don’t forget to bring helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear.
While spending a day serving others may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a parent-child date, such an activity is an incredible growing experience, and it can be fun! Serve at a homeless shelter, pick up trash at the park, or make a meal for a neighbor. The act will instill the habit of putting others ahead of oneself. Afterwords, treat your child to ice cream, fast food, or some other snack to celebrate your day.
- Movie night
Skip the busy, dirty theater — schedule a movie night at home! Pick up a favorite from the library or rent a new release and invite your son or daughter to join you! Pop some popcorn and pour some sodas to make the occasion more festive.
Attend a class. Take a hike. Do a workout video. Kids seem to have endless energy, and staying active is important at any age. Encourage a healthy lifestyle while enjoying time together with your child.
Try a couple of these parent-child date ideas. Try them all! No matter what you choose to do for a parent-child date, make it a priority to spend quality alone time with each of your children. They will appreciate it now and you will thank yourself later.