The older our children get, the harder it becomes to spend time with them. School, sports, and friends are just a few things that begin to intrude on family life. Once they have grown somewhat self-reliant, spending one-on-one time becomes a thing of the past. This is especially true if you have multiple children. The more children you have, the less time you are able to give to each one.
Maybe you are one of those families that have a dedicated game night, or your circumstances allow you to divide your time between your children evenly. But for the rest of us, Date Night could be the answer. Date Night with your son, that is. When was the last time you took your son out, one-on-one?
If you have multiple boys, like I do, it’s possible you are always trying to give them things equally. In the store, you know if you buy pajamas for one, you have to get a pair for the other(s) as well. And they should probably match, too, to avoid the meltdown from the younger brother, who thinks brother’s pajamas are better. Or am I the only one that has things like this happen to her?
But individual, focused time with each son is important. Susanna Wesley was one mom who recognized this importance and determined to give each of her children (she had ten!) an hour of her undivided attention each week. You might recognize the names of John and Charles Wesley, her sons. Even the saying “Behind every great man is a great woman” truly begins at home.
On this Thoughtful Thursday, here is your goal: set aside a night in the next week or two for taking your son on a date. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Maybe he likes bowling, or even an ice cream cone at the park, where you can sit and talk without interruption for a specific amount of time. Take time to listen to his dreams and imaginations. Let him lead the conversation, and you will learn more about him and who he is shaping up to be. Whatever idea you come up with is sure to be a hit. It is the attention on him that matters most.
10 Ideas for Taking Your Son on a Date
1. Bowling – Check the local bowling alleys in your area. Many of them have specials during the week, such as bowl 2 games for the price of 1, or half-off games during certain time frames.
2. Laser Tag – We recently had an outing where we took about 20 kids to a laser tag facility, and the adults were able to play as well. At the end of the game when everyone was comparing scores, it was hard to tell which boys enjoyed it more – the kids or the adults. But the Moms had just as much fun, too.
3. Ice Cream or Coffee Outing – It is hard imagining a boy not liking ice cream. My Snazzy Lad 1 could take it or leave it. He prefers vanilla, or on the rare occasion, mint chocolate chip. But offer him coffee, and he is thrilled. So maybe it’s not ice cream, but go out for a special treat that your son likes, and let him take the time to actually pick what he wants. My Snazzy Lad 2 can take hours (or so it seems) making choices, but let that be part of the fun.
4. Go Fishing – Getting out in nature is always a great idea. Maybe handling live bait isn’t your idea of fun, but there are plenty of other options. Often my boys get tired of fishing when they don’t catch anything, but skipping rocks can be just as fun. Count how many times the rock skipped, or how many ripples it made.
5. Browse a favorite bookstore or music store – Maybe your son likes to read, or you both have an appreciation for a certain band. Find a new series to read together, or a new CD to play in the car. My Snazzy Lads have recently discovered The Beatles, and I will find myself randomly singing, “We all live in a yellow submarine…”.
6. Have a Game Console Match (Wii, Xbox, Playstation, etc) – When it comes to Nintendo or XBox Games, I have to admit, they are not my favorite – because I am not that good at them. But the more I play, the more I am able to appreciate it. If you are of a competitive nature, there is nothing like a good Mario Kart race to get the blood pumping.
7. Build a Lego Set or Puzzle together – Depending on the intricacy of the puzzle or set, this may be a project that takes more than one date.
8. Get involved in a community service project together – Whether it’s something as simple as picking up trash in the neighborhood, or something more involved like Habitat for Humanity, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy spending time with your son while also helping others.
9. Go Hiking – That dreaded word “hike”. Nothing conjures images of sweat quite like that. And who really likes to sweat? But hiking doesn’t have to be strenuous. It could be more of a ramble if you prefer. It is just another way to enjoy nature and the wonder that is everywhere around us.
10. Go Stargazing – Maybe you don’t have time during the day to get out in nature, but when was the last time you looked at the stars? Can you point out the constellations to your son (or yourself)?
What are some things you have done with your son, or ideas you might have? I’d love to hear about them!
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