The doorbell rang. There he stood with a huge smile on his face, ready to take me out. Earlier in the week, I suggested that we go to all his favorite places. His eyes twinkled with anticipation. What did he have on the agenda? I couldn’t wait to find out. The evening was sure to be memorable.
We were famished! We arrived at his favorite burger joint. The smell of the grill made the wait almost unbearable. But the weather was beautiful as we grabbed a table outside. We enjoyed juicy burgers with fries and tons of ketchup. He loves ketchup. We talked and laughed and filled our bellies. When we were done, he jumped out of his seat with excitement. “Let’s go!” He shouted enthusiastically and grabbed my hand. He was eager to share the next part of our night.
Next Stop…The Park.
On a typical date, you may stroll through the park and exchange meaningful conversation. But not tonight. Not on this date. Instead, we played a series of games. Tag. Mother May I. Red Light Green Light. We ran all over the playground, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
No one else in the world existed in this moment. Just the two of us. I’ve never been on a date quite like this one. I was having the time of my life with this young man who captured my heart from the very start.
We hit up one of those ice cream parlors where we could mix in all kinds of toppings. He concocted an interesting arrangement of flavors. But I didn’t mind. This night was all about him. I watched as he took spoonfuls of dessert into his mouth. He enjoyed every bite. At one point, he forgot his manners. With mouth wide open, he showed me how many gummies he was chewing on. I couldn’t help but giggle.
As the evening came to an end, we returned home. My heart was full, and so was his. We shared an evening of laughter and connection. We made lasting memories. This night went down as one of my favorite date nights ever.
The night my son took me on a date.
Why Special Outings With Your Child Are Important
My husband and I love to take our kids out individually for special nights. We value the time we have with our kids through every age and season. We know that all too soon they will be grown. They will leave our home to embark on their own journeys. But for now, we cherish these moments. Here are three benefits of taking your child on a special outing:
1. You will form a deeper connection.
Bonding occurs when you spend quality time with your kids. Be intentional about connecting on a regular basis. Make time to laugh and have fun together. As you plan the agenda for your outing, consider what your individual child would enjoy doing with you. Your children will feel valued because you paid attention to what they liked. You will find your hearts being knitted together as a result.
Side note: Quality time can happen in any environment, not just on a special outing. So I encourage you to snag special moments with your kids on a daily basis as opportunities arise.
2. You will communicate to your kids how much you love them.
A special outing with your kids doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The best part of our date was the free part – running and laughing on the playground. It’s likely that your kids won’t remember how much money you spent, but they will always remember the attention you gave them.
When you make time to do something special with your kids, (something outside of the daily grind, something that is centered around them), your actions are shouting: You are special to me! And your kids will hear you loud and clear.
3. You will teach your kids how to value relationships.
As you spend quality time with your kids, you are demonstrating how to value relationships. Life is busy and schedules are demanding. But when we take time with the people that matter most, we are teaching our kids to do the same. They will take this value with them into adulthood.
Here are a few pointers for making the most of your time together:
Guard This Special Time.
Put away your phone. Resist any temptations to look at texts, social media, etc. When you give your child your full attention, you are present in the moment. You are telling your child: You are important to me, and I value our time together. Being fully present in the moment is more enjoyable for all of us, wouldn’t you agree?
See things from their perspective and go with it. If your kids suggest doing something that they find fun, partake in the fun. Playing tag on the playground was the most memorable part of our night. I laughed so hard as we chased each other up and down stairs and slides. I’ll never forget it, and neither will he. We still laugh about it to this day.
Not every “talk” has to be serious. Ask silly questions. Let your kids ask YOU silly questions. Get to know each other on a different level. I guarantee you’ll be in for a treat. Many times, these types of conversations pave the way for more meaningful dialogue. If not in the moment, definitely in the future.
What are special outings you’ve done with your kids? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share in the comments below. If you found this post helpful, please share it!