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Date night with your children

September 3rd, 2007

When was the last time that one of your children had your full undivided attention with no interruption from other siblings, the computer, TV or phone?

A date night, not with your spouse, but with your son or daughter is what I suggest here.


Take one of your children, just one, out for a date tonight. Ok, we don’t have to call it a date; I suppose dads cannot go on a date with their sons. But you get the idea – a one-on-one time together. I think this will work with children 1 year-old and up.

This will work even if you have an only child. You might do things together, but not often with the expressed purpose of just enjoying each other’s company. You will also be able to relate with each other privately, without the other parent’s presence to have “girl talk” or “guy talk”.

Go out for a meal together

Going out to dinner is the easiest. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. If you are going out with a young child, stay away from MacDonald’s even if they beg to go. Create a special memory for him by taking him to a place he’s never been before, maybe a step up from MacDonald’s like a Denny’s or other coffee shop. 🙂

For an older child, the idea is the same. Instead of going to the usual family favorite, try something new. They will remember it as “that special place that dad and I went to together, just the two of us.”

Rules for the date

There are two rules for this date night:

1. Keep the conversation positive – no nagging, no lecturing. Your child has to know that there is no agenda. You are not cornering him to talk about her grades or to chastise her behavior.

2. Don’t be in a hurry – enjoy the moment. If you have to wait for a table, or the service is slow, that’s even better. It gives you more time together. Do not let whatever the environment may be distract you from focusing on your child. Once I was out with my daughter for our “date” and the wait for a table was over an hour. I was irritated and wanted to leave to go to another restaurant. But my daughter said, “I don’t mind waiting. It’s fun just to be together.” Oh, out of the mouth of babes!

Be sensitive to the needs of our children

Parents often ask me about handling specific problems they are having with their children. My reply is a question to them – when was the last time you spent quality time with your child, one-on-one? I believe that when we purposely create moments to open the door of communication, many of the solutions to problems will become apparent. This is true of any age, from the terrible 2’s to the rebellious teen years.

Have you noticed that our kids often do not talk to us with words? Their moods and behavior tell us more than we want to know! Our communication with them improves when we spend time with them and see life from their point of view. When we are in tune with our children, we are better parents and we are better able to help them in their struggles through various stages of life.

So repeat this activity of dating your child often. Rotating parent and children, but always one parent with one child so the attention is undivided.

One step at a time, you will build a strong relationship with your children that will last a lifetime.

Photo by ang

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  1. […] pay less attenton to one.  Don’t spend all your time on the high-demand child. Be sure to pay attention to the compliant quiet child. Spend time with each one […]


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