Marla Smart: A special date, not with your spouse | Moms

I think many people classify parenting duties into two categories: essential and extra.

Things like feeding and clothing obviously fall in the essential category, while reading a book together every night might fall into the extra list.

Everyone has priorities and that is fine. I’m not here to judge you. You need to do what you think is best.

Can I add something to your list of essentials, though?

Date Night. I’m not talking Mom and Dad paying a sitter and going out to the movies alone (this is a good thing, but not the topic at hand!)

I’m talking date nights with your kids. Too often we forget that those fun times one-on-one are important to your children, at every age.

Our kids need us to give them our full attention once in a while. At my house, that hasn’t always been easy.

There isn’t ample time to listen to just one child when there are tasks at hand and someone else is waiting in line for an answer to a question.

Pretty soon, kids can get lost in the shuffle of getting-everything-done.

My sister-in-law makes a point to have each of her three sons take her out once or twice a year. I have always loved that. There is a special bond that happens when a parent takes time out for these moments. It’s like suddenly there’s a secret club for just the two of you.

Not only is it important to build that bond, but it trains your kids too.

Daddies need to show their princesses how they should expect to be treated on a date when they are older.

Mommies need to teach their sons how to treat a future girlfriend.

Everyone needs to learn how to act in social situations. Too often nowadays, families are so busy that even sharing a meal together around a table isn’t always the norm.

Making date night happen often may be impossible in your situation. However, even a once a year time that you all can look forward to is worth the effort it takes to plan.

In our family, the night of the annual Douglas County Father-Daughter Dance is a much-anticipated date.

There is discussion of outfits, hair, flowers and restaurants leading up to the day.

All three of them look forward to “their” night.

The idea of a dance doesn’t float Daddy’s boat? Well, use the same date, but do something that works for your family. Just make something happen!

My son and I plan our own special date night as well. It works well to plan it for the same evening as the dance and usually involves dinner and a movie, though we’ve also gone bowling or ordered in and had a game night.

Whatever we do, it is always fun, mostly because we are spending time together.

Mark your calendars. The Father-Daughter Dance is February 7. It’s a great night to plan your date night.

Enjoy your evening together, whatever you do!

P.S. A big shout out to all the daddies who take their little girls out that night. Taylor and I love watching you at the restaurant before the dance.

Kudos to you for keeping hair in place and dresses spotless before pictures and for not freaking out when she decides she has to go to the bathroom, but won’t go into the men’s.

You are doing a great job!

There is a special bond that happens when a parent takes time out for these moments. It’s like suddenly there’s a secret club for just the two of you.


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The News-Review Updated Feb 6, 2014 08:42AM Published Feb 7, 2014 08:04AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.