Why You Need to Date Your Kids

Remember when you used to date your sweetheart? That time together helped establish your relationship.

You learned more about each other. You talked. You laughed. You cried. You became great friends. You fell in love.

What a great cycle! Guess what? A similar pattern will help strengthen your relationship with each of your children.

One on One Time With Your Children

Spending one on one time with your child offers the setting where you can get to know each other better than just in the family setting.

reading-with-dad

When the entire family is together, the dynamics are different. Some family members are more vocal and attention-grabbing than others. Kids may even act differently in the group setting as opposed to one-on-one.

One on one time lets you focus on the individual child. The distractions of siblings or broader family matters can fade into the background as you focus on your one child.

In our home, I’ve found two types of dates have been very helpful in building our relationships with each of our four kids.

Daddy Time

First is the daddy/daughter lunch or father/son lunch. This is where I take one child out with me for lunch. From the moment we leave the house until the time we get back, we have the chance to talk about whatever is needful. Plus the child loves the individual attention.

talking-things-over

Parents’ Time with One Child

Over the past several months, my wife and I have had weekly date nights with each of our kids. For example on a Wednesday night at 8:00, all the kids go to bed except for one child. This kid can select any activity they’d like to do with mom and dad as long as it is in the house. This way we don’t have to find a babysitter for the rest of the kids.

Most of the time, this date night consists of playing games, watching a show, and making and/or eating some kind of treat.

Beyond just the individual attention that each child received, these mom and dad dates offer us as parents the opportunity to talk with our kids and ask them questions.

One advantage of having both my wife and I together is that we both get to spend time with the child where as when it is just me taking out a child for lunch, mom misses out on the fun and conversation.

What to Do

Dating your children does require that you actually talk with them. Sure, they may want to talk about Minecraft or princesses. You know what? That is totally fine. Listen to what is important to them. Ask questions, and be interested.

As the opportunity for discussion is there, you can inject your own questions too. Find out about your child’s school, friends, hobbies, family life, relationship with God, and struggles.

You can use your dates as a checkpoint to assess your child’s progress in the different aspects of their lives.

Dating your children offers another benefit: anticipation. Your kids will be excited about their special time with you. This may even lead them to better behavior like finishing their chores.

When you have more than one child, be sure that you set proper expectations that you’ll be taking turns and that everyone gets a date.

You’ll be surprised by the individuality and creativity of your kids as they help plan their date nights. Plus you will cherish the opportunity to talk with them one-on-one and will leave each date with a better understanding of your child than when you started.

About the Author

Joe Rawlinson is the father of four children, two boys and identical twin girls. He is the author of two books for fathers of twins, “Dad’s Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins” and “Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.” You can find more tips and tricks for preparing for and raising twins at dadsguidetotwins.com.

Photos by Randen Pederson and Kelly Sikkema

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