Parent & Kid Date Night

Parent & Kid Date Night ~ from Our Cozy Den

Date Night is a family favorite in our home… and no, I don’t mean when we get a babysitter and have some couple time. Of course, that’s very important, and we do that too! But what I’m talking about today is Parent & Kid Date Night!

My kids absolutely love this tradition. It’s something we started in 2014 when we first moved to Ohio. We have always done dates with our kids since they were little, but it was at this time that it became an official thing. It has benefited and grown our relationships in so many ways, and I’m going to tell you why!

Why to do it:

Date night is one-on-one time that you aren’t going to get at home, especially if you have multiple children. It benefits both the child and the parent in many ways, both emotionally and relationally.

√ you’re going to feel closer to each other
√ your child will know he/she is a priority in your life
√ it gives you an opportunity to get to know what is going on in their lives
√ it opens the door to have those difficult conversations
√ it shows your child that you are one to be trusted when they start having grown up problems
√ it gets you both out of the house, doing something out of the normal routine
√ it is FUN!

How often to do it:

For the first several years of our official date nights, we did it every Friday. We rotated kids, so that each child got a date once a month. They got to choose a parent to take, based on the activity or just who they wanted. {Like for example, I can’t have sugar, so they choose daddy for ice cream dates. I love to read and hike, so I get dates to the book store or forest!}

When we were going through a particularly busy period in our lives with our move last fall, we switched it up to make it a little easier on our schedule. Instead of every week, we had each child choose one date they wanted to take with each parent, and we promised that they would each get their two dates in a 4 month period (Sept-Dec). I made a little chart with the kids, parents, and choices, and we Xed off the boxes as we completed the dates.

Regardless of how often you decide, the key is consistency. The kids need to know that they are a priority, and your special time with them matters. If you say you will do it in a specific time period, open your calendar and actually schedule it in!

How to make time:

Having a specific night of the week makes it very easy to schedule, because nobody will double book that night. We know that date night is set aside, and we don’t make other plans for that night of the week.

One problem with this method, however, is taking advantage of sales (see below). A more flexible schedule will allow for money-saving opportunities!

If time is your biggest worry, I recommend doing the same night every week to start. Look at the extra-curriculars and family activities that you already have on the calendar. Choose a night where you don’t have anything else going on. Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays are often lower-key nights for families. Also consider a non-evening possibility, like Saturday mornings, or Sunday afternoons, or Tuesdays after school!

If money is more of a consideration, then you should have more flexibility in your days. At the beginning of the month, ask each child a) where they want to go and b) which parent they want to take. {We don’t have a set rule that they have to alternate parents, but if they choose the same parent several times in a row, I encourage them to choose the other and they usually do. You could also alternate mom one month and dad the next.} Once they choose their dates for the month, check for deals, open your calendar, and schedule ALL THE DATES at the beginning of the month before the month fills up!

How to save money:

We have a budget of $10 per date, though oftentimes we don’t use any money at all! I made a list of date night ideas for my kids to look at when they are choosing their dates. All of them can be done for under $10. These will change depending on what sort of amenities you have in your community. Don’t write off a place as being too expensive, because many places have deals on certain days of the month or days of the week.

For example:

  • my local bowling alley usually costs over $20 for two people to bowl, but on Tuesdays it’s $1/game and $2.50 for shoes. That’s $7 for two people!
  • my local roller skating rink has $1 skate night on Mondays
  • my local ice skating rink has a “Tot Skate” on weekdays at 10am that is only $4/person including skates
  • we have several discount movie theater options, that show new release movies for $4 instead of regular theaters that cost $9+ a ticket
  • our local science museum is free for county residents on Saturday afternoons
Date Night Idea List:

Here is our family’s list of date night ideas. Like I said, yours will change based on your town! I have mine divided by indoor and outdoor activities. Since we live in Ohio, most outdoor activities can’t be done in the winter. So I have all of the indoor ones separated for them to choose during bad weather.

Indoor:

  • a trip to the book store (they get to use the $10 to choose a new book)
  • dessert at a fancy restaurant
  • the local inflatables play place
  • the local (free) art museum
  • ice skating
  • roller skating
  • movie theater
  • bowling
  • science museum
  • the local Civil War museum (it has fun play areas too!)
  • the Children’s Museum
  • ride the coin-operated toys at the mall (my 4 year old loves this one)
  • a trip to the ice cream shop
  • hang out at the library to read and play
  • rent a movie and watch it at home (usually with popcorn & candy)
  • go swimming at the YMCA
  • have a one-on-one game night together
  • coffee date at a coffee shop (hot cocoa or cider for the kid!)
  • the video arcade
  • laser tag or paintball

Outdoor:

  • hiking
  • go to a favorite playground
  • go on a bike ride
  • have a picnic
  • geocaching
  • have a downtown scavenger hunt
  • play a sport together
  • go swimming
  • the zoo
  • with a coupon, a local water park might be affordable
  • fishing

Special Events:

Also take note of special events happening in your town that your child might enjoy! My local Christian book store did an event where they provided snacks, crafts, and did a screening of a new Veggie Tales movie. It was the perfect date with my daughter and it was FREE!

Check out this post to find out how to find FREE events in your town!

 

Tell me YOUR date night ideas!
Parent & Kid Date Night ~ from Our Cozy Den
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Want to read more? Click here to read about how I date my husband — there are lots more ideas in there! 

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