Thursday, October 13, 2011

Speed Dating {Special time with the kids}

Audrey reminded me in her recent post that this blog is meant to help record our personal journeys. In light of that, here's an update on some of my goals regarding parenting:

Every Day:
- Child-led, focused, one-on-one discussion/play/whatever with each child (10-15 minutes+) — Umm...I worked on this, I really did. But most days I did not get in more than about 10 minutes. But I did improve, so that's important!
- Additional no-purpose family playtimeAgain, improvement here, but still not an every day thing.
- Work on saying "yes," or at least have a good reason for the "no"— Weellll, I think I did well at the beginning of the month, but my crankiness returned toward the end of the month...
- Speak another language - love my family the way they understand it — I think I improved the most in this area. I did some special playtime with just Riley, I hugged all over Silas, I gifted Aaron with a couple good date nights and some special notes. I've still got room to improve, but I wasn't so focused on my to-do list that I lost sight of how to communicate my love for my family. YAY!!!

Once a week:
- Special "date" with one of the kids for at least an hour — Okay, I think I need more of a plan of action here, because, while I had good intentions, I didn't always have a specific plan...which is what is to come in this post :-)
- Planned fun outing for mom and kiddos — Yay!! I did pretty well with this one! We did have a couple stressful weeks, but I tried to plan in at least one fun outing each week.
- Let them help with dinnerLet's just say, I need improvement here...

At least twice a month:
- Plan something differentGuess what! I cleaned out and set up the sandbox!! Go me!! Kids have had fun with it, and I have gritted my teeth and smiled. Victory!!

Okay, so clearly I still have room for improvement in every area, but at least I am moving, right? One of the main areas I feel bad about is the date time. I've always wanted to make sure to get some special extended one-on-one time with my kiddos, but without a plan, I fail miserably most of the time. So, I've been brainstorming up a list of frugal fun that I can do with my kiddos, and I'm sharing them with you! Some of these are at-home "dates" for during little one's nap time, and some of them are real outings. Some are free and some are low cost.

Work a puzzle
Create some art
Play with playdoh
Lunch out
Dinner out
Get ice cream
Parent’s choice
Kid’s choice
Go mini-golfing
Go to the book store
Go to the library
Go for a walk
Have a tea party (with real food!)
Go see a movie
Go to the $ store
Watch a movie at home

And yes! There's a printable!! So, y'all remember how I linked you to the Date Wheel last week? Well, this is a similar idea, except with your kids! So, you just print off the wheel and options, laminate if desired (I recommend it), push a brad through the arrow and the center of the wheel, and stick on the applicable options. Go here to print the PDF. (There are two pages —one with the circle and arrow, and another with the options.)

The colors here are a bit different than the printable I'm giving you.
This was my first draft, and I ran out of time to complete the new one. :-)

For example, if I know we can go out, but can't spend more than about $5, I might stick the following options on: Go to the library, Go to the book store, Go to the $ store, Get ice cream, Go for a walk, and Go mini-golfing (at Fun City where it's only $1 on certain days!) Then when I let my child spin the arrow, I know that whatever it lands on will be something we can do. Makes sense, right?

I know I'll be able to use this in planning my times with the two big ones (and let's face it, right now the baby gets enough face time with mommy right now!), and I really think they'll like getting to spin the arrow.  :-)

Now, this is only a partial list, and y'all probably have tons of ideas! So, when I was designing this printable, I made sure to include some blank spaces so you could fill in your own fabulous ideas. After laminating, just use a dry erase marker to fill in new options. And, while you're at it, share them with us, will you?

Be intentional!


  1. Great ideas Susan! Thanks for inspiring me to be a better mommy.

  2. Seriously LOVE this idea!! Gonna print the wheel off tomorrow. Thanks for making the printable--my boys will love it!