What does going on a date look like to you? Dating can look different for everyone, and there are endless possibilities of what you can do for your dates. We’ve previously talked about how to do a date at home when the kids are there. But today we’re going to change it up a bit and talk about how to date and create experiences for relationship growth for your whole family. Whether it’s a traditional family date night, a family date night at home, or an entire day filled with an event or outing, focusing on building relationships with your kids and your partner during this time can elevate the entire experience!
Building Relationships With Each Other During Family Date Night
We all know that chaos, frustration, and whining can be a part of any activity with our kids. We also know that the happiness, joy, excitement, and growth of spending time with our kids is worth those few difficult moments that often happen during any planned family activity.
Here are a few questions to consider when thinking about family date nights:
- What if we approached our date nights with our kids with a similar mindset that we approach date nights with our partner?
- Do you think your experience would be different?
- How would the outcome differ from your typical family outings?
When we’re all together as a family, focusing on growing the various relationships within a family unit instead of checking off boxes for what “needs” to happen during the time together can foster an environment and opportunity for tender nurturing and growth. When we stop trying to control the outcome of how we see the activity going and start “rolling with the punches,” it may turn out even better than we could have imagined! Even if things go downhill, the experience can still be a fun memory. Here’s an example.
I had the great idea to visit the Las Vegas Speedway Christmas Lights during our Thanksgiving trip to Las Vegas. It sounded like a really fun thing to do with our six kids. And it was…. eventually. See, we went the day after Thanksgiving. And apparently, so did the rest of everyone in Las Vegas. We got in the line in our car, but we didn’t know how far up the entrance gate was. By the time we had waited an hour, we didn’t dare leave the line because we had already invested that time.
Well… FOUR HOURS later, it was finally our turn to drive through the lights. We all look back on this experience and laugh – it was pretty rough being in the car unprepared for four hours. But it’s a memory we all enjoy looking back on because of the humor and ridiculousness involved! We had some great family conversations, listened to some good music, and created a lifelong memory.
3 Ways to Create Connection During Family Dates
1. Look for one-on-one opportunities throughout the date
We ALL crave one-on-one attention. As adults, this may be in the form of attention from our partner, parents, siblings, or friends. Kids are no exception to this desire! While enjoying your family date, be aware of circumstances that you could be purposeful in spending one-on-one time. Maybe one parent needs to go get tickets at the zoo. Take one of your children with you. Hold their hand. Ask them a personal question. Look them in their eyes. Tell them you enjoy the time with them, even if it’s only five minutes. There will most likely be many of these small opportunities to take advantage of if you look for them!
As a couple, look for these opportunities, too! Make sure to sit next to each other and hold hands if you’re at a show. Sneak in the little touches – a hand on your partner’s back or a side hug here and there. It all makes a difference, especially if you’re both choosing to notice these little things your partner is making an effort to do during your activity. Always remember – everything you do with intention creates an opportunity for growth.
2. Create opportunities for family discussion
No matter what your kids’ ages, everyone can participate in these chats. Maybe this is at the dinner table or in the car after your family date. Ask each person to name what they enjoyed most about the date. Ask what they would enjoy doing as your next family date. If your kids are older, ask for more in-depth conversations. If you saw a show, ask about the specific characters or discuss the theme. Talk about how it relates or does not relate to your lives now. Use the opportunity to spark conversation and see where it leads!
3. Go tech-free for the day
We’re all aware that going tech-free for the activity may be a big ask, but it’s worth it to get the big reward of a positive family experience! This includes parents, too!! Setting the example definitely makes the expectation for the kids to be tech-free seem more “fair” in their eyes. You’ll naturally be more invested, too! Purposefully taking in your experience without the distraction of your phone helps keep you present in what you’re doing. Kids notice when we’re on our phones. Make the time with your kids and partner the priority over all else.
As an added bonus, as much fun as it is to share your experience on social media, it can be even MORE meaningful not to. Creating a family experience solely for the purpose of the experience and NOT for the purpose of sharing makes your event feel more personal. By putting away the distractions, you’re automatically more available for conversations, intentional bonding, and more.
Family Date Ideas
If you’re stuck on date ideas to do with the whole family, here are a few easy options to get you started!
- Fancy dinner night. Get everyone dressed up for a nice dinner out. This is a great way to teach kids about etiquette. Really play this up for fun. Ensure the boys are being gentlemen to the ladies. Put a little makeup on the girls. Do whatever your family finds appropriate for a fancy date night!
- Go to a show. Community plays put on by kids are the perfect way to experience the culture of a performance if you have younger kids. These plays are usually more laid back. Younger audience members are admitted. And if you are on a budget, they are usually cheaper to attend. Or, if your kids are older, plan this ahead to see a traveling Broadway show or a performance put on in a bigger city. Remember – treat this as a date to get more out of it!
- Go geocaching. This creates lots of opportunities for conversation, excitement, movement, and time together.
- Cook a meal together. Kids love being in the kitchen! Plan, shop, prepare and enjoy a meal together.
- Play a sport together. Pickleball, tennis, swimming, and soccer are all great ways to get everyone involved.
How did your family date go? Did you notice anything different by treating your family activity as a date? What would you do differently next time? Share your ideas with our community below! If you enjoyed this article, please share on social media using the buttons below and sign-up for our newsletter to receive advice straight in your inbox.