It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Last week, my oldest daughter was sick. She was home from school for 4 days, finally returning to school on Friday. I thought we were in the clear, all sick-free. But wouldn't you know it, on Wednesday afternoon my youngest daughter got a fever. *sigh* She has been home from school for two days. It's now Friday evening and Hubby and I had to cancel our plans.
Their sickness was interesting because they'd have a fever for a few hours, perk up and be happy for a few hours. This has been the cycle for the past two weeks. During those perky times, we'd spend lots of time laughing, making up stories, and snuggling. It made me realize how little time I actually spend face-to-face with them. I don't mean mindlessly listening as they tell a story from the day and coming up with a clever response to make them think you were listening when you were really going over your to-do list in your head. I mean looking them in the eyes, conversing, engaging, laughing, being fully present.
This realization made me sad. I know I'm a good mom. I take care of their needs. They are loved and they know it. But, do they really feel listened to? Do they feel like I make them a priority when they're talking to me? If my husband listened to me the way I sometimes listen to them, I'd be upset. This got me thinking about my priorities and how I can do a better job of spending QUALITY time with my girls.
The idea I had was taking them out on dates, one-on-one. My girls are only 14 months apart so they often get lumped together in situations or activities. Since they both were sick at different times, I got to spend individual time with them. I was amazed at the difference of our time together without the other sister around. They love each other and spend lots of time together, but they are still individuals and I think I don't always treat them as such.
SO, with all of that being said, I want to share a list of date ideas I came up with:
1. Go on a picnic
2. Go to the zoo
3. Go to the park
4. Spend an afternoon snuggled up reading books
5. Create a story with your kids and make it into a book
6. Play dress-up
7. Fly a kite
8. Plant some flowers
9. Paint pottery
10. Do service projects together - teach them the importance of serving others
11. Wash your car - surprisingly, younger kids really enjoy this
12. Create a masterpiece on the sidewalk using sidewalk chalk
13. Go to an amusement park
14. Bake something
15. Go fishing
16. Make bubbles, go outside and blow them till your dizzy
17. Play hopscotch
18. Play board games
19. Play Barbies - be a kid again
20.Use finger paint and let your kids paint all over the shower wall. When you're done just wash 'em down. My kids LOVED this when they were younger.
21. Create an obstacle course in your backyard
22. Create a treasure hunt around the neighborhood
23. Visit a farm
24. Go for a bike ride
25. Catch fireflies
26. Count the stars
27. Have a family camp-out in the backyard
28. Give your kids a disposable camera and take them to a park to take pictures
29. Have a movie night with a picnic on the living room floor
30. Go to a coffee shop
31. Roast marshmallows in the fireplace
32. Make a scrapbook together
33. Make a tie-dyed tshirt
34. Make a volcano
35. You can do what this brave Mama is doing over at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee
I also want to note that when Daddy takes daughter on a date, it gives him the opportunity to teach his daughter how a man should treat her (ie. open doors for her, respecting her, listening to her, etc). This will stick with daughter as she's choosing her dates and eventually, her husband. Daddy has already set that bar high and she will expect nothing less (we hope and pray).
All of these things are a great way to have fun with your kids, but remember, just sitting with a glass of milk and talking to your kids is a great thing too! Never underestimate the power of talking to your children. We have a small window where our kids think we're cool enough to hang out with. Take advantage of it!
Thanks for stopping by,