Dating Your Kids Doesn't Have to Be Difficult
Two aspects that are needed for any good dating relationship are: meeting socially and engaging relationally. So when it comes to dating your kiddos, let these be the elements you aim for. Too many of us, myself included, place high expectations on what a “date" with our kids should look like. Simply said, we make it way too difficult. Many of us think we have to spend extended time having massive amounts of fun while spending a good amount of "mullah" to make it extra special.
Not so! And, in fact, those expectations are hard to keep as a family grows larger and commitments start to crowd the schedule. I’ve had to learn to change my expectations and simplify what this time looks like. Here are some ways we have done that in our family:
- Take advantage of doctor appointments. If you are alone with a kid for an appointment, use that time to squeeze in something special. A quick trip for a treat or a drink before or after turns an obligation into intentional time. Throw in some good conversation while in the waiting room and you’re killin’ it as a parent!
- School lunch is your friend. If you’re able to leave younger siblings behind, school lunch can be a great way to get time with your kiddo. It’s 20ish minutes when you can talk and eat together. A few helpful suggestions:
- Consider eating outside or going to a nearby restaurant for less distractions.
- For kids that don’t usually have a lot of words, bring a notepad and play tic-tac-toe or hangman.
- If you’re tight on time or money, bring a shake or a few cookies from your pantry for a surprise dessert. It isn’t what you bring as much as being there that counts!
- This past summer we instated errand buddies. I would rotate through which kid would accompany me for an errand while the others stayed home with dad or an older sibling. We would visit in the car on the way to and from and then I’d buy them something to drink, a pack of gum, or a sucker. It was usually small but I always handed it to them with a smile and the comment, “It pays to be mom’s errand buddy! Thanks for coming along!” This small change made errands a little sweeter and gave me small glimpses into my kiddos hearts.
No relationship can live off of on-the-go dates alone. When you’re able to take a kid with you to a ballgame, a wedding, or on a trip, it will be a memory builder for sure. But as far as the day to day time with your children, I think you’ll find that this small shift in expectations can make a big difference. So, if you feel hamstrung in the date department, let me cut you loose and give you the freedom to make it a lot less about planning and spending and a lot more about small moments with each kid!
To help guide you in how to strike up conversations, check out this PDF. You can even print them out and keep some at the dinner table, in the car, or in your purse.
About the Author
Mandy Sisco has a love for her Savior and her husband of 16 years, Lance. Together, they have the great privilege to disciple four kiddos: a SHE-E-O, a dreamer, a fireball, and an adventurer. When Mandy is not speaking along side her husband in marriage ministry, she is most at home in a room full of mommas.She enjoys sharing the real joys and raw struggles that sharpen her in the almost-always crazy season of parenting.
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