A few years ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to take our kids out on one-on-one dates. We had heard from so many sources that spending that one-on-one time can make all the difference in our relationship with our kids. So, we set out to do it. At the time, most of my kids weren’t in school yet and my husband worked from home. It was relatively easy to find time to take each one out.
But as the kids grew up, their schedules filled up too. My husband started working again out of the house and I was trying to balance life with a new baby and a toddler at home. Little by little it became nearly impossible to find time to take each child out on individual dates.
But, this year, I figured out the perfect solution: Lunch Dates.
Each of my school-aged children get one lunch date a month with me. Sometimes we head to a restaurant together. Other times, we head to a nearby park and eat, followed by some fun on the swings and slides together. A few times, I even showed up with bicycles. We jumped in the car, drove to the nearest bike path and rode our bikes until we found the perfect place to picnic. And once, Tyler (my 9 year old) and I headed to a nearby tennis court for a game of tennis.
Our lunch dates have become the perfect solution for us. It is so refreshing to be able to spend focused time with each of my children. Together we plan the date and then we both look forward to our date together.
I’ll never forget my first date with Elizabeth (my 8 year old). She’s not a child who likes to open up much about how she’s feeling or how life is going for her. She’s generally a happy kid, but when she’s down, she shuts up like a clam and won’t share what’s on her mind. On one of our first dates, I picked her up and took her to a nearby restaurant for lunch. It was amazing! As we sat waiting for our food, she just started talking up a storm. She told me about her friends, her schoolwork, her teacher, her hopes, her dreams. It was amazing. I left in awe and total joy. There was a bond made that morning that I had never gotten before with her. Sure, our family spends a lot of time together and does a lot of fun things. But, there’s something precious you just can’t get unless you dedicate the time to spend one-on-one time with each child.
Now, you ask, what do I do with the baby and toddler? I swap. Once a week, I take my sister in law’s daughter and once a week she takes my kids. It’s a win-win for both of us. So, find a family member or friend who could use a break as much as you do, and work out a schedule. Believe me, it’s so worth it.