Date Series:: Kid Dates: Connect With Your Kids

Regular date nights with your spouse are incredibly important, but I’m going to add one more date ritual to your list: kid dates.

It’s time to date your kids.

After my husband and I welcomed our 4th baby last year, we quickly realized how difficult it was to connect with our older kids in the midst of caring for a very needy newborn.

We have three older kids (a first grader, a middle schooler, and a – gulp – high schooler). Our first grader was quite used to being the baby for almost 6 years before his baby brother stole the show, and he struggled with the transition. We’re very fortunate that our bigger kids were old enough to understand the shift of attention when the baby was born.

However, it didn’t make it less challenging for them. No matter how old they are, our time with them is just as important. They need us now more than ever.

When do I fit kid dates into a busy schedule?

While impromptu dates are fun, I have four boys. I have to plan to make sure one of us will be home with the other kids. If you’re like me, it needs to go on your calendar.

Pick a night that you consistently have free (yeah, I know, that is the hard part). Be flexible and know you may need to change the day of the week to make sure it fits in. Of course, if you have an impromptu day that works for you to take your kid on a date, just do it!

kid dates

During the winter months, we committed every Thursday night to our older kids. My hubby started with one kiddo, and I followed the second week with another. We each made it through the rotation with our kids a couple of times before our hectic baseball season started in the spring and continued through summer.

We had a few kid dates sprinkled in over the summer. Now that school is starting again, we’ll re-establish a weekly ritual.

What do you do for kid dates?

We offer suggestions but usually leave this up to our kids.

Our oldest two kids love dining out at restaurants, and they enjoy talking a bit more when it’s just one parent and no siblings. As a mom, I really love this. They’re at an age where it’s harder to get them to open up and talk, so this is one of my favorites.

Movie theater dates are a big favorite with our boys.

Another top choice in our family is Do Space. This is one of Omaha’s best-kept secrets! Almost all activities are free, and they offer great hands-on experiences and classes to enjoy with your kids. They have a calendar of classes for kids of all ages (even preschoolers), plus drop-in activities for older kids. Check out their calendar and find something that would interest your kids. Just make sure to pre-register if it’s a class.

Our kids also like going to the Approach Climbing Gym. (I think my hubby enjoys it—maybe a bit more than they do!)

One of my boys is an avid runner and biker. A bike ride around Flanagan Lake or a run around the block helps us connect while we get some fresh air.

Other ideas that we’ve put on the table are:

  • Time at the indoor trampoline park (parent HAS to jump with the kiddo!)
  • Play together at one of the warrior gyms in town
  • Putt-putt golfing
  • Laser tag
  • Bowling
  • Geocaching
  • Pottery class
  • Painting class
  • Ice cream date
  • Children’s Museum
  • Zoo

Some of these require forethought and reservations, so keep that in mind.

Don’t let the details stress you out.

If you think you need to make a Pinterest-worthy, elaborate plan, don’t be intimidated. Your kids don’t need overthought ideas to enjoy spending time with you. Even a simple one-on-one trip to the park—or even the grocery store—is worth more to them than you probably realize.

Start with that if that’s what it takes to make kid dates happen in your family!

What is your favorite kid date idea in Omaha?

Tiffani is wife to David and mother to 4 boys, and they live in their self-proclaimed “frat house” in Bennington. She is a Nebraska native, freelance writer, and certified group fitness instructor. She earned her Journalism degree from the University of Denver in 1999, and returned to Omaha in 2007. As an active family, they enjoy exploring local parks and trails, participating in races, and traveling. Tiffani is an avid triathlete and runner, and completed her first (but not last) Ironman race in 2016. She writes about her adventures on her blog