I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of spending one-on-one time with my kids. I want to make sure a strong relationship is established before we get into the teen years.
But it can be really hard to find that special time, unless it is scheduled and planned. So my husband and I talked about what time and day would work best for scheduled one-on-one time with our children. Our nights were busy with meetings and sports and homework, and our weekends were too unpredictable, so we decided to schedule lunch dates during the week.
We first decided that Chad would take 1 kid out to lunch each week. Then the next week he would take another kid, etc. He rotates between the kids so it averages out that the kids get to go out to eat and one-on-one time once a month.
Chad takes a whole month and goes through all the kids and then it is my turn. I get the next month to take the kids out. When it is my months, I appreciate that Chad comes home to watch Locke during lunch, so I still get a chance for one -on-one time with the other kids.
We check the kids out of school during their lunch hour so they miss minimal school. They get to chose where they want to go, within reason (I refuse to eat at Weinerschnitzel! If they want to go there, they have to wait until it is dad’s month). The kids plan them all month and get so excited.
When possible, we redeem gift coupons they were awarded at school. For example, Elle earned a free meal at Applebee’s for great work in reading so she ate at Applebee’s.
Our one-on-one lunch dates are working well for us. They are a great time to discuss friends, schools, hobbies, and goals. It is a great time to ask questions and give advice. But most of all, lunch dates are a great time to laugh and listen.
If lunch dates just won’t work for you, what about an early morning breakfast? or an icecream treat on a weeknight? Or what about a weekend night? or a Saturday afternoon? It doesn’t really matter when you go or where you go, as long as there is consistent one-on-one time between parent and child.