So, did you read the title of this post and wonder to yourself, “What is a kid date night?”
Well, I will tell you.
When my husband Alex and I were married, we knew we wanted to do all we could to forge strong bonds with our children. We wanted to make sure they felt loved and that they could come to us about anything, no matter what age they were. We decided to plan one on one time with our kids in our family schedule–to make it intentional.
Make time with your children intentional.
We used to go out one on one with our kids, but as we had more kids, more activities, and a tighter budget, this became challenging. We stopped having this time as frequently as we wanted to.
One day one of our daughters asked, “Why don’t we have kid date night at home?” A light bulb went on. Why not? It did not matter where we spent time together, as long as we spent time together. Just like that, kid date night at home was born.
Make time with your children exclusive.
We have kid’s date night once a week. With five kids, this means that each child has a date night with us once every five weeks.
After family evening prayers, our other four children go to the other parts of the house while Alex and I have time alone with one of our kids. No one is allowed back into our family room after date night starts. We want to respect this special time we have set aside to be with our child. The other kids need to respect that and know it will be their turn soon enough.
When our youngest kids were very young, we would have that time during the day. My husband and I would often take turns: one of us would spend time with one of our kids while the other one of us was with our other kids.
Make time with your children special and fun.
We have had many different kinds of date nights over the years. Sometimes we just sit and talk. Other times we watch a movie or play cards or board games together. The point is to have this special time together, no matter what we do.
We usually let our child decide what to do for his or her date night. They usually want to watch a movie. We make sure that we have time to talk as well. After all, what is the point of exclusive time with our child if we do not communicate much at all and only sit and watch a movie together?
Make time with your children not too serious.
Sometimes we want to have a more serious talk on a date night, but we try to keep it short or talk another time so we can enjoy our date night together and not have our children feel that date night equals “Mom and Dad getting on my case!”
Make time with your children scheduled.
We have kid date night every Wednesday. Each month we write our children’s names on the calendar on his or her scheduled day.
If for some reason an event comes up on a Wednesday, we reschedule date night to another day in the same week. If this is not possible, we will just skip that week and resume date nights the next week. We try not to let this happen too often, though.
We want our children to know that we make time with them a priority, so we do not want to skip our weekly date nights with them.
Make time with your children go later than their bedtime.
We let our kids stay up about 30 minutes after their usual bedtime on date night. They are happy to have that extra time and feel that it is a special night since they get to stay up later than usual.
Make time with your children to grow in relationship with them.
Kid date night is one of the highlights of our week. Our youngest child, who is learning to read the calendar, will ask “When is my date night?” every few weeks. Our other kids, upon reading the calendar, have exclaimed, “Oh, it’s my date night this week!”
We want to keep lines of communication open with our children. Yes, we know date night is not the only way we can do this, but for us, it is part of the picture.
With having five kids, alone time with each of them can be scarce. We set aside this time for each of them on a regular basis to be available to them to talk and just to spend time together. Our hope is for us to communicate to them that they are special, loved, valued and that we want to spend time with them and will be there for them no matter what.
Yes, that sounds like a tall order! Date night is one of the many tools we use to bring this about.
We hope our children will look back fondly on their date nights with us and be inspired to make special time with their own children in the future.
Make time with your children.
What are your goals with your children? Perhaps implementing a kid date night is something you are inspired to do. Make time with your children intentional, exclusive, special, and fun. When it is scheduled it is something parents and children can look forward to. Kid date night is a great opportunity to forge stronger bonds with our children.
If kids date night is something that sounds interesting to you, give it a try!
For a related article, see “Fun Family Date night.”