In our busy world, sometimes it’s hard to carve out enough time to spend one-on-one with the kids – especially when you have more than one. Just a little quality time, though, can mean so much for your relationship. Choose to make that quality time a priority by scheduling regular one-on-one dates with each child, and then mark them out on your family calendar to let your kids know that these dates are important and guaranteed. Make the commitment (if even occasionally) to put down the phone, get away from the TV, and otherwise unplug, and check out these fun date ideas for mom and child.
Bake Cookies or Cupcakes Together
Find a kid friendly recipe (or even just pick up a box mix if you’re not a baker!) and make it together. Score bonus points if the two of you walk through the grocery store first and buy the ingredients! Let your child pick your baking project and go nuts with the frosting and sprinkles, then admire (and enjoy!) your creation. If you are REALLY not a baker and don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen, do something easy like my No-Bake Truffles – just do it together!
Go to the Library
Walk through the children’s section of your local library and pick out some old favorites or new finds. Once you have a collection, sit down with a pile of books and take turns reading aloud to each other. Talk about your favorite books or the parts you like the best, then check out your favorites to bring home so you can revisit the memory of your date while reading bedtime stories over the next couple of weeks.
Have a Picnic in the Park
If you’re like most moms, you hit the park to let the kids run off a little steam while you chat with other parents already. Next time though, try making a date of it! On one of those perfect spring or fall days, pick a local park with a nice grassy area for a picnic (bonus points if it also sports a duck pond!), and pack a blanket & lunch just for the two of you. Enjoy a leisurely lunch and talk about your day, see what shapes you can spot in the clouds, and take a stroll to smell the flowers or collect leaves. Later that day, while you’re making dinner or folding laundry, let your child make an art project with the leaves to commemorate your day.
Play a Board or Card Game
You’ve heard of family game night, but what about scheduling a time for just the two of you to connect over a favorite board or card game? Pop some popcorn and settle in for an extended session of Sorry or Monopoly – or even Go Fish, Uno or Chutes & Ladders for the little ones. (Not into games? Why not work on a large puzzle or build a new LEGO set together?)
Sign Up for a Free Kids Craft Event
Check out the free project days for kids at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the LEGO Store. Sign yourselves up for the next one in your area and head over to help your kid build their project. Stop for ice cream on the way home to cap off your date. Be sure to display their creation so that everyone can see it!
Shop the Dollar Store
Hand your child $5 and let them pick out any five items at your local dollar store. Take your time and wander through each aisle discussing and weighing the pros and cons of everything that catches their eye. Then, head home and play with your finds together. (If your child doesn’t pick out a food item, you could also spring for the extra dollar for a surprise snack to enjoy too!)
Visit your Local Pet Store
Large pet stores are almost as fun as the zoo for little ones – plus, they make for a great rainy day outing. Admire the fish, birds, kittens, and even the mice at your child’s pace, and be prepared to spend some time in front of each. For the older kids, let them do a little research (so that they can teach you!) on each kind of animal (in the store on your phone or at home.) Bonus: If you have a pet at home, let your child choose a small special treat to bring home for it.
Make Up a Story Together
Do you truly not have the time or money to spend on a cheap date? Solve this problem by making up a story together! Put your child to bed a little bit early and take turns telling the story. For example, you start with, “Once upon a time, there was a pickle named Domino. Domino loved to…” and your child continues. Take turns (while giggling!) and continue your story for 10-15 minutes. It is quality time and won’t cost a thing. You can also do this in the grocery store, on car rides, while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or whenever!
Remember – What matters most is spending uninterrupted, quality time with your kids. It doesn’t really matter what you do. You don’t have to get fancy and you don’t have to spend a lot of money; just enjoy each other’s company and take the time to listen. Use these fun date ideas for mom and child as a jumping off point – or pick a favorite activity of your own, and commit to scheduling a special one-on-one date with your own child soon. Do you have other ideas? I’d love to hear them!