Mommy/son……daddy/daughter dates……..my husband and I spend at least one day a month taking one of our children out on a date with us. With five children, it’s easy to feel like you don’t get enough one on one time with your mom or dad. But….this blog post is not about those special days/nights that you plan. It’s about the impromptu moments that you don’t. It’s about “little ways” that you can love your child in the ways that are important to them. It’s about knowing your child so well that the 10-30 minutes that you give them can make their day. I am constantly looking for ways to “chase time” and “grab moments”….here are a few that have worked for us:
Tackle your son. Yep….that’s what I said. Wait til he’s quietly watching a show and just pound him. I love to do this to Dirty Dog D. He rarely sees it coming and his face just beams.
Paint your daughter’s nails. Let her pick out her color, sit her on your bed and talk about her day.
Ask your son/daughter about something that is important to him. I once grabbed my son’s Lego Ninjago book and asked him questions about all his guys. His face lit up as he talked about each one and why they were “awesome”.
Push your child on a swing. It doesn’t matter how old they are. Push them as high as they can tolerate it. Then stand in front of them and laugh as they giggle with excitement. Keep pushing them or join them in the swing next to them.
Have a tea party and use your fine china set. Make some fun “sweet tea” like a vanilla or chocolate tea and invite just one child. Keep some fun candy or cookies in your house for such a time. The picture below was a “Mad Hatter” tea parties that my two “littles” at the time wanted to have after we when to see an Alice in Wonderland play.
Play whatever game they want. My daughters love to play salon and beauty shop, so my hubby was proud to be one of their clients. He sat through a cucumber “eye lift”, and a “hot paper towel” massage. He also can “rock” a nice princess “dress up”.
Make a table tent. One table+ a large comforter+ a bunch of books or puzzles + = hours of fun time.
Cuddle with them. No matter what age, every kid loves to cuddle with their mom or dad. Sometimes when I am tucking my kids in bed, I will slide into bed with one of them and cuddle for a few minutes. When one of them is sick, you can believe they will want mom. =) My son always acts like he doesn’t want to cuddle, but lately he is right there next to me on the couch.
Let them help in the kitchen. I know so many moms that have a tough time with this one because of the mess but I promise it’s worth it! Sweet Pea has been in the kitchen helping since she was three. She has such a mature palette for her age and can pretty much cook anything. For her, it’s bonding time with mom. The picture below was a princess cake that we were making for fashionista’s birthday party. Since it was such an awesome design, everyone wanted to help out!
Help them with a lemonade/muffin stand. Sweet Pea decided one Saturday that we was going to have a muffin stand during yard sale season. She made her own cardboard sign, baked her muffins and made $12 in the 2 hours that she sat outside. She did a fantastic job of making homemade muffins (blueberry and whole wheat bananas) and packaging them. It was such a positive experience for her that didn’t require much from me. However, she felt very supported and was eager to spend her $12.
Go on an Adventure…..read to them. My crew is in the process of reading Pippi Longstocking. We read a chapter almost every night. We pick a book, as a group, in addition to their reading for school. I also have time everyday where I read to Mini Me and Miss Missy. Reading is such a great way to nurture their imaginations and go on adventures with them. Sometimes I will read a story in a funny accent or let them read the parts they know. We keep a basket of board books in our living room next to our fire place. They can often be found reading to themselves or their babies.
Let them make a mess. Let them lick a giant pudding spoon. Let them finger paint and get it all in their hands. Let them use shaving cream to work on their number formation. Give them their raincoat and boots and send them out in the summer rain. Set a time to get out the playdoh and glitter. Show them that making a mess is fun when it is appropriate..
Cut off the TV. Encourage creative play. My hubby and I have been the proud attendees of many circuses, American idol performances, and plays. Give them a few props and tell them that they have to make up a play to perform, and videotape it. Let them know that you think what they create is important.
Refresh their old toys. Give one of your girl’s baby dolls a new hairdo or help change her into a new outfit. Wash that coveted stuff animal, put a pretty bow around the neck and leave a note for them from their stuffed animal. One weekend my husband set up a huge safari for my son for him to use his nerf gun.There were stuffed animals hanging off curtain rods; sitting on bookcase; climbing the stairs, and hanging out of my kitchen cabinets. My son was beyond himself as he ran to the basement to grab his safari outfit.