I know. You’re a homeschooling mom and you spend a ton of time with your kids. So why in the world would you need one on one time with them? Why do you need to take each of your kids out on a special date? I’ll tell you why.
One on one time makes them feel special.
Know what makes a kid feel awesome? When they are recognized as an individual. Homeschooled kids spend a lot of time with their siblings. Having that chance for one on one time with mom or dad? Pretty special, indeed.
Your children are different when they get a chance to spend one on one time with you.
In the same way we act differently in different groups of people (think church, extended family gatherings, sign up for homeschool soccer, hanging out at your husband’s office party), your kids are different when they are not with their siblings.
You can spend all day with your kids and have them all figured out in a group—your family unit—but wow, are they different when they are apart! And you know what? You are different when you’re not momming everyone.
So while it’s really awesome to experience your kids separately, it’s also awesome for them to experience you separately.
One on one time helps you learn things about them.
Kids really have the opportunity to shine when they’re not waiting for their turn to do so. Conversations that wouldn’t happen at home in a group suddenly happen when it’s just one on one.
And just a tip—if you’re looking for that conversation, don’t necessarily head to the “date” with an agenda. Kids are smart and will catch on. Let the conversation flow naturally and you might be amazed at what you discover.
Kid Date Ideas:
A date with one of your kids doesn’t have to be a huge expensive thing. In fact, something huge and expensive makes it more likely that you’ll not repeat it as often as you’d like—especially if you have a lot of kids!
Dinner/lunch, ice cream shop/coffee shop:
It’s always nice to sit and talk over a little lunch or a special snack. When my kids were younger, I’d treat them to a special meal or snack and listen to them ramble on…and on….and on…I learned so much about them, and it also helped them to get a lot of stuff out!
Now that my sons are older, the conversations are deeper.
They also eat more.
Sometimes just tagging along on a normal errand and not having a sibling to pester you is a big treat! Have your date pick out something for supper or a special something he’s always wanted to try.
Go on a walk:
Sometimes just walking is a good idea. I find that as my boys have grown older, this is a big thing. There is something about walking side by side and not having to talk that makes them actually talk more. Or not.
And it’s okay either way, because the scenery is beautiful.
Take a car ride:
It’s funny, but sometimes kids just want to ride with. They want to control the radio. They want to ride shotgun. They want to talk to the driver. They want to help you pump gas or pick up cat food or mail a package, just because.
Ask what they want to do:
Ask if you had an hour to spend with me, where would you want to go? Give them logical perimeters if you must (for instance, within a certain amount of miles from your home) but see what they come up with.
You might discover your kiddo wants to explore something you didn’t know about and weren’t aware they were interested in.
Do you have to leave the house? Sometimes, one on one time with your kid might have to be playing Legos in their bedroom or having hot chocolate on the front step together. But dates work best if you get away from the house.
You know how having coffee on your couch with a book is totally different than bringing a book to Starbucks and ordering a mocha? Your kids totally understand that, too.
If you’re not able to do individual dates—and sometimes, let’s face it, you just aren’t in a position to do so—try having an outing with the just the olders or just the youngers, or just the boys or just the girls. Any way that you can focus your attention more individually is a chance for your kids to feel special.
How often is one on one time necessary?
Whatever works for you is great. The number of kids you have, their ages, and what kind of supervision the kids left at home need from another adult (and whether or not you have that available to you) will dictate how often you are able to take advantage of one on one time with your kids.
I know families who are able to do a special kid/parent outing once a week. I know others who can only swing it once per calendar season.
Choose a time frame that works for you—something that is reasonable, do-able, and that you can feel relaxed about. A kid/parent date should not be another reason to feel Mom Guilt!