Easy Ways to Make One-on-One Time With Your Kids Possible
Many people, when they think of having connection time with their kids, think of taking their kids on special outings. This can be a great way to connect; spending a longer period of time one on one with your child—having a kid date—can be very rewarding for both of you, but sometimes we get overwhelmed with trying to make these outings perfect, and this perfectionism can stop us from even attempting to find opportunities for one-on-one outings with our kids. This is the connection, not perfection guide to kid dates and we’re going to look at how you can foster connection without so much overwhelm.
First off – it’s important to realize these quality time outings don’t have to be every week, nor do they have to be super special in the sense of buying something new or getting a treat.
When the focus is on spending time together, the connection becomes the reward.
This doesn’t mean you should never take your kids on more treat-like outings such as a trip to the ice cream parlor or toy store. However, it can be easy for kids to get distracted by what they’re getting when the outing is a treat. By mindfully choosing to connect in ways that don’t involve treats, you
build value in spending time together.
By all means, when the opportunity for a trip to the theater or lunch out arises, take it! Just don’t limit yourself to “date worthy” outings. If we think it only “counts” if the date is very special, we won’t notice the other opportunities for connection that come our way.
Tips for Planning One-on-One Time Outings:
- Don’t worry about making this a regularly scheduled event unless that really works for you. It really is OK to just take opportunities as they arise; again this is about an overall feeling of connection. Set yourself up for success. If having a regular schedule for dates works for your family, pay close attention to keeping the pace sustainable. It is better to set a pace that is less than you are think you are capable of and build from there than to set high expectations and feel like you can’t maintain it.
- Keep it simple. Experiences that focus on connection rather than material goods or events are easier to perpetuate. The quality of your time together is because you’re giving undivided attention to your child, not because you’re buying them something.
- Take advantage of times you are already out and about with just one child such as before or after a doctor’s appointment.
- Think of tying kid dates in with a family tradition. Some families start traditions for kid dates, having an annual date with their child: on birthdays, the first or last day of school, to mark special accomplishments, changes or coming of age.
Easy Kid Date Ideas
- go clothes shopping with just one kid at a time
- go for a walk or hike
- go geocaching
- go to a recreation center and shoot pool, play foosball, air hockey or ping pong
- play tennis
- go bowling
- sit on the swings at the park
- volunteer somewhere
- paint nails together
- play catch
- go for a drive together
YOUR TASK FOR TODAY:
Look at your calendar and think about what you have going on over the next month; pick a tentative time to have a date with one of your kids.
Jot down the five most doable one-on-one time outing ideas.
What are your favorite ways to have quality time with one of your kids?