I date my kids. That sounds weird, I know. But hear me out.
Every second Wednesday I plan a little outing for just me and one of my children. We get dressed up and escape the house, just the two of us. Sometimes we even hold hands. But my eight-year-old usually fights me on this.
We’ve been partaking in parent-child date day/night for several weeks now. And, I can honestly say it’s one of the best parenting moves I’ve ever made.
Why we should date our kids
Don’t get me wrong. I like dating my partner. He’s heaps of fun and our little afternoons/early-date-nights-because-we-don’t-last-past-8.30-anymore are always a blast. Plus, he’s old enough to buy me wine which is always a plus on a date.
But dating my kids is just as fun, if not more fun. Why? Because it gives us an hour of one-on-one time, outside of the chaotic house, away from the constant chores that ‘I should’ be doing. It lets me and my child do something we both enjoy doing, together, without having to share our attention with a sibling or another parent. It’s just us. And it’s delightful.
Parent child date night rules
So what do we do on these parent-child dates? It depends. I let my kids guide it most of the time, within reason, budget permitting. But we do have some rules:
- No epic trips to theme parks, water parks, fancy dinners or all day events- these are reserved for family time as the child that missed out would never forgive me.
- No phones. Phones stay in the car or at home.
- No at-home dates. We have to leave the house. There are too many non-fun distractions at home.
These dates are usually just a small outing, an hour to two at the most. And often I will find myself repeating the date for the second time, with my second child. Because if one child gets to go bowling, then clearly, the other one (who usually HATES bowling) has to go too! Sibling law # 2,478.
25 parent child date ideas
Here are a few ideas we’ve done or plan on doing after speaking to other mums who also enjoy parent/child dates. And most of these parent child date ideas work for dads too.
1.Go for a bike ride and stop for a treat along the way. I will pick up some donuts to surprise my son with.
2. Head to a duck pond and feed the ducks/spot the turtles.
3. Paint at the park. Both my daughter and I like drawing so I grab two sketch pads, some crayons, a blanket and we draw a different portrait while enjoying the fresh air at the local park.
4. Collect and collage. Collect seashells at the beach. If you happen to live close to the beach. If not, collect different nature items from a park (bark, leaves, pine cones) and make a collage out of them.
5. Make a garden. Or, create a fairy garden with your finds (from above). You can also go to a gardening centre and get some veggies/plants to make your own garden at home.
6. Hit the driving range. Or mini golf. Even terrible golfers, like myself, will enjoy whacking a few balls. It’s a great stress reliever too. Batting cages are good too.
7. Paint and hide rocks. Most suburbs have a rock hide and seek group (you can search for them on Facebook). Find out where people are hiding rocks, paint your own, hide them around the area and search for other painted treasures among the trees, bushes and sand.
8. Cuddle some animals. See if your local animal shelter requires volunteers and volunteer with your animal lover. Or, head to the local stables and check out the horses and ponies. If you happen to have a petting zoo in the area, this is a good date idea too.
9. Scoot or roller skate along your local walkway/esplanade. Grab ice cream at the end.
10. Try the library. My little bookworm could spend hours browsing through the book titles. Plus, plenty of libraries also have colouring in activities, LEGO and board games you can borrow as long as you play with them there.
11. Enrol in a class together. A pottery class, jewellery making class, cake decorating course. Check what’s available in your area.
12. Play a round of laser tag. Yes, it can be expensive, but one round isn’t too bad! Plus, it will give you a 10-12 minute crazy cardio workout as you attempt to dodge your child’s shots.
13. Try an indoor rock climbing wall. Or an indoor trampoline park is always fun too. The only catch? You can’t just pay for your child to play – you have to do it too!
14. Skate! Roller skating is another fun activity both my kids enjoy. Triple their excitement by finding an ice rink and take them ice skating.
15. Go bowling. Like laser tag, bowling can get expensive when it’s a family affair. but one game isn’t too pricey. And often bowling alleys have deals on during the week.
16. Browse through a museum. Or planetarium, art gallery, whatever your town has.
17. Go to the video arcade. This is one of my son’s favourite activities. We usually spend $10 in tokens and choose games we can play together, like basketball, skeeball and air hockey. Old school yes, but fun.
17. Take the $10 challenge. I got this idea from another mum who did a similar challenge for her teen’s birthday. Give your child $10 and hit up your local Kmart or discount shop. See how many ‘bargains’ your child can buy or do a mini treasure hunt, picking out different items to go with a theme each week.
My daughter and I did a “salon theme” one last week and picked up some nail polish, an exfoliating glove and two face masks.
You can do this at any shop. Head to your local salvos and see who can find the most outrageous outfit for $10. Go to a discount shop and pick out items of only a certain colour. The possibilities are endless!
On the cheap
19. Watch the airplanes come and go. Get as close as you can and lie on the bonnet of the car for maximum noise/effect.
20. Go the a car wash. I don’t know why, but both my kids love the stupid car wash! I try to make it a bit more exciting by adding a trip to Maccas for a soft serve ice cream afterwards.
21. Find a new neighbourhood. Take a stroll around one of the fancier streets in your area, admiring the homes and choose your next “dream” house.
22. Open a restaurant. Little chefs will love this! Decide on a dinner menu, pick up the ingredients and head to your parents’ place to borrow their kitchen. You and your little one can prepare, cook and dish up a delicious meal for just the two of you. Or, take your dish home and serve it for dinner.
Of course, you can do this at home, but going to my in-law’s place to do the cooking just makes that little bit extra special.
Extra special occasions
23. See a show. A play or the ballet perhaps? Yes, it’s a bit on the expensive side, but it is also a beautiful way to spoil your tiny dancer.
24. Get mummy and me manicures. Another good one for kids who love to be spoiled. If this is a bit over budget, you could always pack your nail polish and set up a salon at a park.
25. Take in a game. Basketball. Footy. That weird AFL version of footy. Any game that doesn’t take five days to play is fair game. #sorrycricket
These are only a few of the countless ideas for parent child date night – or date afternoon. We’ve done quite a few on the list but it is my mission to test them all with my two kids (individually, of course). And before they decide dating their mum is not cool anymore.
Looking for more things to do with the kids? Check out our ultimate bucket list of 101 things to do with the kids.