When you first think of the word "date," it's easy to assume that it involves two individuals roughly around the same age who are in some type of romantic relationship, whether new or seasoned. While this may be true, "dates" can include kids, too. (preferably not in addition to the two individuals in a romantic relationship- that's what babysitters are for!) Special outings with just one child and one parent allows undivided attention, one-on-one communications, bond strengthening, and the ability to learn something new about the other person. Sometimes the impact of these special times are shown right away and sometimes the full impact isn't expressed until later. They are priceless, nonetheless. Try one or all of our 10 date ideas for parents and children- and start connecting today!
Although museums are usually saved for school field trips, try it as a date. Museums have a rotation of special exhibits every year. Find one that is of interest to you and your child and make a day of it.
2. Ice Cream Parlors:
"I scream. You scream. We all scream for Ice Cream!" Everyone loves ice cream and if they truly aren't a fan, there's always frozen yogurt or italian ice or smoothies. Kids love sweet treats and taking them out with the specific intention of getting it for them will have them smiling from ear to ear. (My children usually do a mixture of jumping up and down and squealing. lol)
Not all films are appropriate for children so be sure to choose wisely but after you've done that, enjoy a fun movie together. There are so many options to choose from- the movie theater, the drive-in theater, or even movies in the park! If going out to the movies isn't an option, don' be discouraged. Check out a FREE movie from your local library, grab a laptop and a blanket, and head outside to watch your movie under the open skies. Don't forget the popcorn and cold drink!
4. A Trip to the Mall:
Did you know that the mall is filled with just as many window-shoppers as those who are coming to make a purchase? It's fun to go to the mall and walk around, stopping in different stores to try on clothes or fragrances, getting a yummy drink or tasty sweet, and just hanging out. Many malls also have indoor play areas perfect for running, climbing, and making new friends. If you have some spending money on hand, buy something special for the little person to remember your date by.
5. Have a Picnic:
Sometimes the perfect date is right out your front door... and down the street. Picnics are a simple way to spend time together. Pack a picnic basket with your favorite foods, grab a blanket, and pick a place to enjoy your meal together. Try a favorite park, a new park, the beach, the forest preserve, or your backyard. The possibilities are endless!
6. Theatrical Productions:
So far, we have already mentioned movie theaters in our list of 10 date ideas for parents and children, but another option is to take your child to see a play or musical. Theatre companies are producing more and more children plays in addition to their regular season lineup. Some companies even specialize in children plays and feature great childhood classics like Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella and also newer favorites like The Little Mermaid or Nancy Fancy Pants. Watch your child's eyes light up with delight as the story unfolds.
7. Sporting Events:
Sports, sports, and more sports. There are sports of every season to take advantage of, both professional and non-professional. Purchase some tickets to take your child to see their favorite sports team play- even if the seats aren't front row seats! They won't forget the experience. Many communities also have local games during the spring, summer, and fall; go to those! If you aren't a big sports fan but your child is; this is the perfect opportunity to meet them where they are and to show them that you value their interests. (You may just learn to enjoy sports in the process!)
8. Coffee shops:
Coffee shops are a surprisingly wonderful date option. A lot can happen over a hot chocolate and cup of coffee/tea. Enjoy this time talking and finding out new things about your child. Maybe bring a game along to play. I was surprised to realize that my son loves going to coffee shops with me- he even requests it! We just sit and talk and sip. When our drink are finished, we return home with him feeling loved me and feeling like the best mom in the world.
9. Indoor Playgrounds:
Parent's like to have fun, too! This could partially be that they want to relive part of their childhood or that that part of them is still very active. Either way indoor playgrounds are an easy choice for hanging out together. Jump, slide, flip, and swing until you both are exhausted and desperate for a break. (Warning- this may happen a lot sooner for you than for them!)
Nothing can truly take the place of dressing up, smelling good, and going out to a nice restaurant. Call ahead to set up a reservation and confirm what foods they provide for children meals. Your child may not be into oysters... I'm just saying. ;) Also, take plenty of pictures to commemorate your special time out.
Spending time together doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive, just full of love and quality time. If possible, put it on the calendar in advance so that both you and your child have something exciting to look forward to. Also, let them choose the date activity every now and then... you'd be surprise what they pick!
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