You're busy, they're busy — in fact, the whole family is busy — but your kids don't stay kids for long, so it's essential to keep bonding now while creating new memories that will last a lifetime. Making special one-on-one time with your child away from the rest of the family and the normal responsibilities of everyday life will benefit you both, so here are a few suggestions for planning a "date night" with your child.
Someday you'll have your chance, but for now, let your child take the helm. OK, so maybe going to the reptile museum on a Saturday night wasn't on your to-do list, but imagine how your child would feel sitting through a three-hour opera in another language! Let them be part of the decision making so you'll both have a great time. As time progresses and date night has become part of your routine (not just a once-in-a-while activity), you'll likely find it easier to expand his or her interests and possibly even get them to that opera after all.
It's easy to get caught up in the moment and expect more than you should, so be realistic. Just because you're taking your 12-year-old to the amusement park for the day doesn't mean he'll hold your hand between every ride like he did when he was 5, or having a lunch date at the mall with your 15-year-old doesn't mean she won't check out the cute boys or wave to her friends. Enjoy this special time with your child, and let it be what it will be. You may be surprised how much you will learn about each other while talking, listening and laughing -- and that's what's really important, after all.
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