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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Date Nights

I've read and heard a ton about having date nights with your spouse, but not so much on having a date night with your kids. It's just as valuable a time investment.

We have three kiddos and while it's sometimes hard to juggle everything to make those one-on-one times happen, it's given back in spades just to see the smiles on my daughters' faces.

And before anyone says they don't have the time or money... here are some things we've done to save the pocketbook and not crash the clock.

We've spent an hour at Starbucks talking about nothing and everything. My daughters felt pampered going to a grown up place and having hot chocolate, and I got to hear their hearts and left with mine filled. (cost: $5 and an hour; benefit: good memories and full hearts)

We've gone to a local park and fed the ducks and played on the playground. (cost: $0 and as little as 30 minutes to an hour or more if you can keep up with the kiddo; benefit: lots of giggles and some good exercise)

A favorite place for my reader family is the bookstore. We've spent an hour or so browsing, sometimes me reading to them and other times them reading to me. (cost: $0 and an hour; benefit: developing a love of reading and books and learning together)

Close to our house is an amazing ceramic store where I've taken each of my girls to paint a small item of their choosing. Since my kids are crafty, this has been a blast for them and an exercise in self control for me in not "fixing" anything. They are in charge of the paint choices and technique which gives them a sense of responsibility and pride in a job well done. (cost: $5-10 and about and hour and a half; benefits: great keepsakes, sense of accomplishment for both of us and more good memories)

Every few months, either my husband or I do a special dinner date and take one child at a time out to eat. This costs a bit more and takes a little more time, but the benefits grow exponentially with deeper conversations in a relaxed atmosphere.

There's a start to an idea list for mommy/daddy and child dates. What about you all? Let's pool our ideas and find more fun things to strengthen family ties.

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