Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Date Time with your Kids

I probably tell my kids at least 10 times a day I love them. I know they know. But in this season of all-things-love, I want to make sure I remind my children often how much I like them and enjoy spending time with them.

 As with all kids, ours LOVE to go out for some one-on-one time with Mommy or Daddy. My husband and I try to get a couple of hours with one of them each month. It's sweet to see just how much they anticipate and enjoy this undivided attention. Even my 2-year-old gets giddy if he gets to go in Daddy's truck—just him and Daddy--for a simple errand to the hardware store.


Often our dates involve going out for a meal or dessert together. This provides great talk time. My daughter is 4, and she is happy just to get a cookie or visit the animals at the pet store.



We've done a few more creative things with our 7-year-old. He and I enjoyed a pottery-painting date one Saturday afternoon.



And my husband took him to a high school football game last fall. The stuff that bonds daddies and sons.
 Some other ideas we have for date times this year are:
  • go for a bike ride
  • take a walk together at a park
  • go ice skating
  • take a box of donuts to a neighbor
  • go to a park and take funny/creative pictures
  • make a project together
  • plant something—flowers, seeds, a tree
  • go on a long hike
  • visit a hobby or pet store
  • visit an art show
  • make a fun video together
  • do a random act of kindness together
  • find a way to serve or minister to someone in need
Now that our kids are getting a little older, it's fun to find out what they think about the world. These are interesting conversation-starters for a date or even the family dinner table:
  • If you could be famous, what would you want to be famous for?
  • If you could invent one rule for the whole world to follow, what would it be?
  • If you could change one family rule, what would you change?
  • If you could keep your room any way you wanted, how would it look?
  • What are the qualities that make a good friend?
  • What do you think of my driving?
  • If you could decorate our home, what would it look like?
  • What do you think are the characteristics that make a good parent?
  • What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?
  • What is the most enjoyable thing our family has done together in the last three years?
  • If you could have any pet you wanted, what would you choose? What would you name it?
We are trying to use this special one-on-one time to be more than just activity time together...we want to use it to build strong communication foundations with our kids. If we're not open with them now, we know we can't expect them to want to talk to us when they're 15. I'm working daily on being a better Listener to my children!

A few years back, our friend passed along some really great questions to probe the heart a little when you have some uninterrupted time alone with one child. Some don't quite work yet for our young children, but I'm hanging onto them for a few years down the road.
  • What conflicts are you and your brothers/sisters having when Mom and I aren’t around?
  • How is your heart towards your brothers and sisters?
  • Do you think your mom or I show favoritism towards one of your siblings? If so in what ways?
  • How’s your relationship with Mom? How is she doing as a mom?
  • What is God showing you about the way He made you?
  • What can I do better in leading the family to love God and love each other?
  • How are your devotions?
  • What is God teaching you?
  • In your own words, what is the gospel?
  • Is there a specific sin you’re aware of that I can help you in defeating?
  • Are you more aware of my encouragement or my criticism?
  • What’s Dad and Mom most passionate about?
  • Do I act the same at church as I do when I’m at home?
  • Are you aware of my love for you?
  • Is there any way I’ve sinned against you that I’ve not repented of?
  • Do you have any observations for me?
  • How am I doing as a dad/mom ?
  • How have Sunday’s sermons/classes impacted you?
  • Does my relationship with Mom make you excited to be married?
  • On top of these things, with my older kids, I’m always inquiring about their relationship with their friends and making sure God and his gospel are the center of those relationships. And I look for every opportunity to praise their mother and increase their appreciation and love for her.                     
                • Family Strategy questions by Rand Hummel/the Wilds
A little attention and time goes a long way...it's just hard to fit in sometimes. After the football game, my son came home with shining eyes, as well as a little hot chocolate still stuck to his upper lip. He told me it was his best night ever.  Later my husband recounted the evening to me and said he felt like even if he'd been the worst Dad in the world (and for the record, he's a fantastic Daddy!), that evening together would have redeemed him big time. It was a super special outing for both of them. And a reminder to make the effort to book these important times on the calendar before lesser things eat away our hours with our kids.

6 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post!! I totally agree about the importance of spending quality one-on-one time with parents. And great questions - so important to really connect! LOVE it! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a GREAT week,
    Beth =-)

    ReplyDelete
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