Now that Arthur is almost two, he requires more and more of our focus and Lillian is not blind to that fact. We've noticed a decrease in her willingness to cooperate and listen. Just last week we received an email from her teacher informing us that she was not listening to instruction. We instantly knew that her feelings of neglect were the likely culprit. (Not that she was being neglected in any way! She just wasn't getting as much one-on-one time as she needed.) So we made a plan to begin a weekly Mommy/Daddy date. This way, she would get a whole night, once a week, where she received 100% of our attention. The added benefit is that the parent who stays home gets to spend alone time with our son and he gets that parent's focus for the night.
The next morning she got up and came downstairs fully dressed and ready to go without any prompting. We also received an e-mail from her teacher letting us know that her behavior had dramatically improved and there was no longer an issue. My husband went ahead and took her for another date that night. They went to the college library and read numerous books together in the children's section. Then they ate burgers at Five Guys. Arthur and I basically cuddled the whole time they were out. He had a fever and wasn't feeling well. I'm not going to complain though, cuddling him will be something that I am going to miss the older he gets.
We've seen a noticeable change in her behavior, willingness to share, and cooperation at home and the teacher hasn't had to contact us again about misbehavior. I've also felt less stressed and guilty when I need to do things around the house or just need a break to read a book. I feel more confident that the time I spend with my children is valuable and that relieves a lot of my own underlying stress. We're making a point to continue a weekly date night, taking turns spending one-on-one time with our children. This week, Derek will take her and I'll stay with Arthur, next week we'll switch. There are many things you can take your child to do, but the most important thing is to simply spend time with them. Make them the focus and you will not only have a happier child, but you will be creating memories that will last forever not to mention strengthening your bond as parent and child. I've listed some more ideas for date nights with your child below and I encourage you to make a point to take them on a date every once in a while. You won't regret it!
- see a movie
- do an activity such as mini golf, bowling, pottery painting or skating
- visit a library or bookstore and read together
- go on a hike/nature walk
- mani/pedis - many nail salons nowadays have children's pedicure chairs
- fancy dinner - get dressed up in fancy clothes and have a meal
- gym class - a lot of places have regular mommy/daddy and me classes for yoga and more especially larger cities
- craft classes - similarly, home depot, and some craft stores host free craft classes for parents and children
- window shopping at the mall
- dessert date - Skip the dinner and just get a fancy dessert together.
- coffee date - get a coffee/hot chocolate together and chat
- visit a museum
- go on a scavenger hunt - there are plenty of ideas online for an easy and fun scavenger hunt
- have a photo shoot - you can head out or just hit the backyard and be sure to let your child pick their outfit and grab a few fun props. To make it extra fun, be sure to make it comical by directing them like a real photographer. "Make a fish face! Magnificent Dahling!"
- volunteer together
- makeovers at the mall - the make-up counters in department stores will give you a free makeover. Take advantage (Just be nice and let them know you don't intend on buying anything upfront so they can give attention to the people who do. They work on commission.)
Stay at Home:
- bake together
- have a tea party - Be sure to dress appropriately! Tiaras are a must!
- rent a movie and eat popcorn - We like to dump a bag of peanut m&m's in our popcorn. It's delicious!
- spa night - Skip the expensive salon and turn your bathroom into a spa. Light a candle, play some music and make a bubbly foot bath. Fancy treats like homemade chocolate covered strawberries and faux bubbly make it extra special.
- game night
- camp out - spend a night under the stars in your own backyard
- bike ride and picnic - pack your lunch/dinner and ride somewhere nearby for a lovely picnic
- dance and karaoke party - make your living room come alive with music and dance!
- craft something at home - visit pinterest or buy a craft in a box kit
- science experiment - you can also find plenty of ideas online or buy a kit
- plant a mini garden - grab a pot and let your child start their own mini garden
- build a fort and read books
- cook dinner together
- learn something - Hit the internet and learn about something of their choosing.