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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Dates a Family Priority

I want to share something that we do as a family to make dates a reality-- not just for my husband and I, but the kids as well. This isn't meant to be another elf on the shelf fad that adds to a moms full plate, but to make your life simpler. About two years ago, our dating was sporadic-- maybe we'd get out as a couple once every 6 months and if we were lucky, maybe every three months. We knew it needed to happen and we wanted it to, it just seemed like the time flew by in between and we couldn't get our acts together. It was a little different with the kids-- we would find one child got to do a few more special one on one things with one parent and yes, I know, lifes not fair, but we felt we could make parent-kid dates more balanced.
So, we sat down and decided that one month is mom's month and the next is dad's and so on-- mom gets 6 and dad gets 6. Next, we set aside week one for our middle son, the second week for our daughter, and the third week for our oldest son. The fourth week is Mom and Dad's date week.
Now, kid dates have an est. budget between free- 20 dollars (sometimes more for really special treats), and they average 10 bucks. We do not tell the kids what they are doing ahead of time-- and they can make no suggestions. We want the excitement to be for our time together and not for the where and what. If they aren't behaving that week, they can loose the special activity, but not the time with the parent. We want to emphasize to them that the most important thing is investing into one another's lives. We hope and pray that by doing this, that by the time they are teens, they are so used to this one on one special time of conversations and fellowship that we can continue to build strong relationships with them during adolescence. We also hope that they understand that when they enter into romantic relationships, they know how to bless the person they're with not with things, but with their time and attention.
So, some things that we have done are bowling, breakfast dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, walks, bike rides, out for ice cream, snuggles in bed playing a game on the kindle, walks, hikes, shopping trip to the dollar store, grocery store shopping, errands, etc. Very very rarely will we do a movie-- maybe once a year if that. The reason is you can't really talk and get to know one another while the movie is showing so we don't see this as being high on the ideas list for us.
When it comes to my husband and I's turn, we schedule about four months at a time with our amazing sitter. This way, the stress of planning it is gone. We typically go out towards the beginning of the week so places are less crowded. Honestly, I don't think we have been to a movie just the two of us in a few years since again, we want to enjoy and talk to one another. We do talk about our kids and work and families-- and just about everything-- no rules there. We just share our lives and hearts and its also a sweet time of fellowship.
So, if you are like us and this is a struggle for you, I hope this can offer an encouraging solution. We've been doing this for almost 2 years and its become a wonderful way for us to budget our time and invest in our family's relationships.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

an "aha" moment - I love this idea! I'm going to talk to Bill when he get's home from his interview about this idea. It takes stress away that you have alternate months for mom & dad with the kids rather than each parent with each child, each month. Thanks for sharing this!

angie said...

I like the practicality of this idea. But, I don't understand what you mean by 6 for mom and then 6 for dad. What is meant by 6?

mommy of Five said...

awesome ideas

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