Does the word “date” sound funny to you when talking about parent and child? Maybe it does, it’s ok if it does. You can call it whatever you’d like. In our home, a “[insert child’s name] date” is what we call it when we get one-on-one time with our kids. I mean the purpose of a date is to get to know someone a bit better, to spend quality time, to create intimacy. Do we not want that with our kids? I do. My husband does. So, we go on dates with our kids.
Life gets busy whether you stay at home, work from home or work away from home. It seems to never stop and it is very hard to slow down, much less get some eye contact and get to know your child. The days go by and we check items off our list, then we go to sleep and do it all again. The idea of the parent/child date is to remove the distractions of daily life and to spend some time with each of your children individually with the sole purpose of getting to know your child a bit better.
My husband and I have been going on dates with our boys since our youngest son was born. It’s become pretty much a monthly or bi-monthly thing and we love it and so do the boys. I think that a great way to help a child to feel loved and validated is for parents to show that they care about what the child is thinking and feeling. A date provides a great opportunity for this.
What makes a great date?
Anything you do with your child that is just the two of you is a good start. It is also great if it can involve something the your child loves to do that is fantastic! Creating a new experience and teaching your child at the same time is also awesome! It doesn’t have to be a full day, or even a half day. It can just be a special stop on the way to the grocery store. You can really fit it in anytime.
Here in Orlando we are blessed with countless fun things to do. A lot of the below list (or something like it) can be found across the country minus some of our theme parks. Though, if you’re reading this and are not living in Orlando, you can always come visit and check out some of the amazing places Orlando has to offer 😉
- The park – keep it simple with playground and picnic. It only takes a tad bit of preparation with their favorite lunch in a cooler bag. Bonus on this, there are playgrounds everywhere! But here in Florida, when it is super hot, we also need indoor playgrounds – our family favorite is Princesses and Princes.
- A Museum – share a bit of learning with your child. Being alone with just one allows you more of an opportunity to talk to him or her about what they are seeing. This is also a great way for your child to experience that learning can be fun. Here in Orlando, the Orlando Science Center is a blast for kids and parents alike.
- The Orlando Eye & Sea Life – These two just happen to be in the same place. The Orlando Eye is a HUGE ferris wheel, you can see for miles on miles and it is a blast. Sea Life, a great aquarium happens to be at the same facility. Here you can learn about sea life from around the world and even walk through a tunnel with fish, turtles and sharks swimming all around you. And to top it all off, if you have some extra time and want to see a celeb or two, stop by Madame Tussauds.
- Get out in nature – I personally find it really important that my kids get out and are comfortable in nature. So much of what we do is sheltered by a roof over our heads, but a lot can be learned in nature and if our kids are comfortable in nature they may also find joy and peace in it. Go for a hike, watch birds fly and bugs crawl. Around here you may have to do a bit of digging but if you look you’ll find a great place to explore with your kids. Tibet Butler Preserve in Windermere is awesome. Miles of trails, a museum and educational opportunities.
- A theme park – This is an easy go to for any local. Pick any park and you can find some fun for you and your little one. From Mickey, to Nemo to Harry Potter – we have it all! Here’s an easy guide to Orlando theme parks!
- Find water – There is something about water that calms a soul, right? So if you’re going to head out to a beach and build sand castles or sit riverside and toss rocks into the water this is a great opportunity to just be with and chat with your child. Swim in one of our many crystal clear springs.
- A farm – Most children, boy or girl love getting dirty. But the reason I like going to farms with my kids is that they get to experience where our nutrients come from. Just today we picked blueberries at Lake Catherine Blueberries. It was a blast! (In truth, I had both kids today). Orlando Moms Blog has an entire guide especially for blueberry picking!
- Lunch / Dinner – Sharing a meal with anyone inspires conversation. A meal one on one with your little one is no different.
- An ice cream parlor – I can remember being very young on warm summer nights being taken for ice cream. Every kid loves ice cream and I can ensure you that this memory doesn’t fade.
- A fair or farmers market – Oh my goodness, we have countless farmers markets and fairs around the Orlando area. You can find at least one or two a week. I LOVE these because you find local crafts, music and food. It is a great way to introduce your child to new things and have a bit of fun!
Get out and find one-on-one time with each of your kids – at least once a month. You will not regret it and they may never forget it.