I value the importance of making time to date my husband, but being in a new city without the natural supports of friends and family, it was not possible for us to have a kid-free date night. We were lucky to enjoy the day with our children, decorating heart shaped cookies and giving lots of squeeze hugs, followed by our version of date-night which included catching up on The Flash through Netflix and snacking on Little Debbie Valentine Cakes.
Valentine's Day really got me thinking about the concept of “dating” not only my husband, but my children as well! Growing up I have fond memories of my Father celebrating “Meghan & Ashley Day” with my sister and I, and I want to leave my children with similar memories, and honor my late father by continuing his tradition. With 4 kids, it's rare that anyone gets time away from their siblings in our house, so we rotate through 1:1 “dates” with each of the kids (sometimes with mom, sometimes with dad).
When we think of dates, many of us picture dressing fancy for a nice dinner, which can be fun and special, but dates with your kids can truly be as fancy or casual as you'd like! Often times our kids place a huge value on some of the simple things we often take for granted, which can make for pretty amazing memories! Having a nice day or night with your kids is so important. You don't even have to leave the house, your time together could be spent indoors doing what your child wants to do. For example, if they love computer games, it might be worth suggesting that you play a game together, such as this paper mario thousand year door rom. That would be a nice game to play together. Remember, you don't have to spend lots of money to have a good time with your children, sometimes a nice activity inside the house is more than enough. However, try and let the kids decide what they want to do.
- Grocery shopping. Many grocery stores can be a mini-day trip with your child, too! Grab a bite to eat in the cafe, then get your shopping list out and let your child help you find all the items, check them off the list, and maybe even make a couple impromptu purchases!
- Get the car washed. Kids love going through the car wash! Head in and pick up some snacks before you embark on your soapy journey – make sure your windows are up! I like to keep my car as clean as possible, just so it's always looking shiny and new! I'm currently thinking about getting a new car from Conklin's used car selection so I could take the kids car shopping too. I think they'd love it!
- Dollar Store. There is something about knowing you can get ANYTHING you see – go on a little shopping spree with your kiddo. Set a budget of course, but remember that even one dollar will be fun!
- Bowling. Bowling can be a great activity for kids of (almost) all ages. Many alleys have bumpers and ramps to allow kids as young as toddler-aged kids to have fun bowling.
- Museum/Indoor Play Center. Spend a day at the local children's museum, art gallery, science/history museums, or one of the area's Indoor Play Centers. Let your date call all the shots about where to go, then allow yourself to let loose and make memories with your kiddo!
- Zoo. It's open year round – so whether its snowy or sunny there will be animals to see and memories to make!
- Library/bookstore. Read a book together on site, or choose a book to bring home.
- Picnic. Whether you pack your picnic as a part of a larger excursion, or as the highlight of the date, picnics are fun for kids, and can keep costs low by avoiding pricey restaurants if you're on a budget!
- Sledding. Pack a thermos of hot cocoa, bundle up and hit a hill! (Might take a little more planning if you're near Phoenix like me, but apparently it's not a terrible drive up to Flagstaff, AZ where they get plenty of snow!)
- Live Theater. Seek out a family-friendly show from a local live performance theater or one of the local middle/high schools!
- Sporting Event: Whether it's high school, collegiate, semi-pro, or pro – cheer on your favorite teams or explore a new sport!
- Home “Alone.” Sometimes we send one parent out with all but one of the kids – allowing “date night” to happen right at home. Get a snack and play a board game, make a craft, or read a book together.
- Restaurant. Going out to eat can be a lot of fun, whether it's a fancy restaurant, dessert only, or fast food. Check your area for local kids meal deals too, and save money on your date night!
- Special Events. Last (but definitely not least!) check the local libraries, malls, and community centers for special events going on – storytimes, make-and-takes, and other special events will all make perfect dates with your kids!
I'd like to leave you with a little reminder that it's not about the MONEY you spend, but the TIME you spend together. <3
“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with your children!”
Share in the comments below: What is YOUR favorite kid-friendly date?