She jumps out of the car, smiling, she is so happy that she has me all to herself…
The curls, like tiny springs, bounce as she walks. Her little hand silently slips into mine as she falls into step besides me. Leaning against my arm I realize that she’s getting so tall and, even though she is my youngest…my baby, she is no longer my baby.
Tonight we are headed to clothes shop but first we are pulling into Panera for our favorite Pick2. Over Caesar salad and Blue Cobb we talk about school and friends, being the youngest and her new glasses. We laugh, chat, and eat delicious brownies. Chocolate covers our teeth and milk chases it away.
Over the fan of the heat blowing through the cold air, warming the car, I ask her how she’s feeling about our upcoming trip to England, the one where Dad and I will gone and she will stay with someone, she and her sisters and Emmett.
Her voice gets quiet , slowly she shares her fears.
And carefully we work out the details of what it will be like, why she is worried, and what steps we can take over the next couple of months.
Time stands still.
And it makes me glad that I’ve made this time every week to just be with my kids. I’m grateful for the space I’ve made in my life for this exact conversation.
How to create kid dates:
I absolutely believe in making time to connect with each of my children everyday. There’s something extra wonderful, though, about spending one-on-one time with each of them away from the house and the rest of the family.
Over the years our kid dates have evolved and changed. So what may work one year, doesn’t work the next year.
Now, each Tuesday night I take one of my kids out on a date while the rest of them stay home. The evening is for one of the kids to choose what we do (within a a budget). Mostly it’s a time for us to just get to be the two of us.
For my husband, he takes each of the kids on his Saturday trips to visit the teachers he supervises. The trip is 3 hours and they get to go to lunch, chat, listen to music, and have him all to themselves. Each of the kids love the discussions or the opportunity to read aloud the current Harry Potter book they are engrossed in.
Steps for a fun and meaningful kid date:
- Figure out a time monthly or weekly that can be consistent. You can plan on it. Your kids can plan on it. You can know that every week you’ll get to spend some time with one of your kids one-on-one).
- With the kids help we made a calendar with Tuesday highlighted. They came up with the order of who gets to date when. For every Tuesday there is one child’s name in the day to remind us all who’s week it is for a date. I have four kids, so that means every child gets at least on date with me every month.
- Create a list of thing you can do together. Ask your kids for their input. Have them make their own list to choose from each time they have their date. This list keeps dates from becoming frustrating for everyone.
- Have some questions that you ask each time you have a date together. For example: *tell me about school, *how are your friends, *what do you wish I would do better?
- Allow your kids to be very open with you, refrain from judging their answers and be willing to just listen.
- Make sure they know that this is sacred time to you by keeping your date something they can count on.
- Have fun! This is your chance to be exclusively available to your child, build a relationship with them that fills you up, and create a lifelong understanding that you are important to one another.
Date nights with your kids can become a highlight of your week.
What kinds of ways do you make time for your children? Do you have a system for your own kids dates or one-one-one time with your children?
When she’s not out adventuring she can sometimes be found teaching Familyness Photo Workshop!