Most married couples know that in our busy lives if we want to spend some quality time with our spouses, we have to actually schedule a date night!
These days, if you are a mom of a teen like I am, then you know his or her schedule could be just as – or even more – hectic than yours, or your spouse’s. So, if you want to spend some time with them, there is nothing wrong with scheduling a “date night” with your kids! In fact, it may be the only way you get to see them!
Many times parents look for the latest parenting fad to help their kids grow into mature adults. Yet they miss out on the one key thing they can do to help their kids grow to be happy and prosperous adults – simply take the time to “be there” for them.
A regular, one-on-one “date night” with each of your kids is a great place to begin intentionally investing in the overall health and growth of your child.
Here are 5 tips for having a great “date night” with your kids.
- Choose to do something your kids want to do — Often, when parents want to do something together with their kids, they’ll select an activity that they love, but their kids have little or no interest. If you really want to create a positive “date night” culture where your kids want to hang out with you, try doing things that appeal to your kids’ interests and not your own – you might even discover something new that you enjoy!
- Communicate – Be sure to engage your son or daughter in conversation at some point during your “date night.” Try to make it as “tech-free” as possible, but certainly no phones during dinner, or gameplay. For conversation, try to talk to your kids about anything and everything, but do not come off like the “Spanish Inquisition!” Ask your kids about their interests, opinions, and feelings. Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered yes or no.
- Listen – Just as you wouldn’t with a real “date,” don’t do all of the talking on a “date night” with your child! Communication is a two-way street, so be sure to work at listening. Listening is the language of love. Through listening, you demonstrate that you value your kids and what they have to say.
- Do not be afraid to be openly affectionate – Even though teenagers are in the process of becoming adults and separating from their parents, they still need the affection of their parents. In fact, sexual promiscuity in teenage girls can often be traced back to a desire for (and lack of) affection from their fathers. Dads, be sure to offer your kids genuine affection through loving words, affirmation, encouragement, small gifts, and appropriate touch.
- Never, ever, embarrass your kids in front of their peers – It’s possible that a “date night” activity might take you onto your son or daughter’s “territory” – to a place where they may run into some of their peers. Gentle teasing is one thing, but embarrassing your kids in front of their peers might be close to being an unpardonable sin in teen culture. Show respect to your kids and they’ll be more willing to hang out with you – and your “date nights” will be much more enjoyable as well.
What do you think of these “date night” tips? Are there any others you would like to share?