Carve out special time
Whether you schedule a weekly girls' night in or set aside time to Skype every few weeks, it's important to block out your special mom-'n-me time. With three daughters, Anastasia Gavalas understands just how important that one-on-one time is, so Gavalas and her daughters each plan what they call "special night."
"This is a time that's carved out during the week for me and each of my daughters (ages 13, 11 and 5) to do anything she chooses," Gavalas said. "The reason that time is so 'special' is because they choose what they want to do, and it's uninterrupted time between mother and child. It's something I'll treasure forever and I know they will, too."
Mom of two, Maureen Smithe, also believes in the power of mother and daughter one-on-one-time. She and her daughter, Evelyn, age 3, visit their neighborhood café to share a cup of decaf tea. "We've done this together since she was a baby. I now have a 1-year-old son who takes up a lot of my time and energy, so whenever we have a few minutes just the two of us, we always stop for tea. It's a nice way for us to re-connect," Smithe said.
Mother and daughter bonding can get better with age. Nancy D Butler and her two adult daughters are proof of that. Butler sets aside time to travel with both of her daughters, whether it's an overseas adventure with Heather, age 38, or a simple local day-trip with Tammie, age 44, and her children. "One of [Heather and my] most memorable trips was to Egypt where we rode camels, explored the pyramids and cruised down the Nile. It was a trip we'll never forget," Butler said.
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For Alice T Chan and her daughter, Alexa, nurturing their bond is a delicious experience. Chan and her 5-year-old daughter love baking together, whether they're making treats for her class parties, bake sales or birthday parties. "I was never one to do any of these things pre-Alexa. She inspires me to come up with creative ways to make food fun," Chan said. "Baking together will create memories for life."
When it comes to family bonding, mom and jewelry designer Brandi Greygor savors the time she spends designing jewelry with her daughter, Peyton. Though she's only 4-years-old, Greygor says Peyton has fun picking out the beads and ribbons, and Greygor appreciates her enthusiasm for the business. "She already understands the basics of the retail world, and has real style," Greygor said.
Unlike Greygor, mom and author Michelle Nicholasen admits that arts and crafts aren't necessarily her thing, but that doesn't keep her from finding creative ways to spend time with her four daughters (including 8-year-old triplets!). "I take my daughters, one at a time, to the studio in the back of the nearby arts and crafts store. We choose one of several projects to make, such as a mosaic or a candle holder. The sustained focus on painting or decorating is incredibly relaxing, and you can talk and share ideas. It feels like meditation for both of us," Nicholasen said.
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Work it out, girls!
Not only is biking a fabulous work-out, but for Heidi Ahrens, it's also a time for bonding with her daughter, Coralie. They enjoy hopping on their bikes to visit friends, head into town or go play by the river. "It's a low-cost, healthy, fun activity we both enjoy," Ahrens said.
Mom Jenny Block and her 12-year-old daughter have taken their relationship to new heights while bonding over rock climbing. "It gives us a chance to be together and talk and laugh, and to challenge ourselves," Block said.
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Mother of two, Patty Newman, has formed a priceless bond with her 20-year-old daughter, Kelsey, with the help of a tradition she started when Kelsey was about 2-years-old. "Every Friday is our date night," Daughter Kelsey said. "We go out to dinner and sit at the table talking for hours. I cherish those Friday night dinners more than anything."
For mom Patty Beyers and her daughter Natalie (age 8), special date nights are a time for bonding and getting their chocolate fix! "My oldest son has severe food allergies, so there are lots of foods we don't allow in our home to keep him safe," Beyers explained. "As huge chocolate fanatics, Natalie and I have started having special dates at The Melting Pot. We only order the chocolate fondue dessert, but we savor every morsel. This is a special tradition for us -- we get to catch up and talk about girl stuff, and we even dress up for it."
What is your favorite way to spend time with your kids?
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