Again it’s the little things that together add up.
As a teenager I belonged to a youth group which ran activities in a 4 Square Program: recreation, service, culture and worship. Throughout each month one Friday night would be allocated to each.
Something of the same works for us at home too. Every Day – not once a month!
Work (homework, chores)
Play (sports, playing in the garden, riding a bike)
Entertainment (reading, watching TV, crafts, going to the movies)
Social (talking with friends on the phone, visiting friends, having people over for a meal)
Rest (sleep, and quiet times – with no TV)
Service (helping others, giving a hand for charity causes or at school)
Physical (food; a varied diet, NOT a very limited menu with too many refined carbohydrates, sugars and salt)
Gratitude (taking time to acknowledge the good things we have, instead of just focusing on more, more, more)
These days so many children spend 30 to 40 hours per week with TV and computer games.
They can forget how to play.
Consider the child who spends hours texting messages to friends – it becomes an obsession.
What about kids who spend their waking hours training for some sport – because they ‘have to be’ a star?
Some Suggestions and Ideas:
What’s a fun thing to do?
You might like to all go for an outing once a month of the first Saturday, each child taking it in turns to suggest and plan the day with you. What about the routine of the way you all celebrate special events – like good grades, birthdays, a new job for dad, an achievement in cleaning out the shed – the WAY you all celebrate becomes a family ‘thing’ which your kids will love.
A regular date with your child is a magical experience. It might go something like this… ‘From now on we can have a date, just you and me, once a week’ (once a month, every 2 months) = Wow, Dad wants to be with just me = he thinks I am special = I am special
Create reasonable and fair guidelines
Discuss together some ideas, and your budget. Each date can be different, but within a framework. = there are clear rules = I know where I stand = I know the rules
Variety (providing balance) is the spice of life
Take it in turns to plan your outings. It can be as simple as a visit to the pet shop to look about, then a juice after; working on a craft you both enjoy, a picnic in the park, going to the movies. However if your child absolutely adores fishing – then do that every week. Just change the locations. = it’s good to different things with Dad = I like it when we change things around = I feel okay to do this
Routine and consistency is important
There will of course be times when you have to change the day – but make sure you make up for it. This is a crucial part of creating a stable feeling for her. After a few weeks she will be telling her friends – ‘I always go out with Dad on Thursdays’ = I can rely on this event with Dad = it feels good = I like consistency and habit (it’s FUN)
The payback for you both of having a regular date with your child (or children) is fabulous.
I can assure you from my own regular monthly ‘dates’ with my adult children it is magical.
I got to know them much better, we had fun, made plans, and I got to have three dates every month (son, daughter and daughter-in-law). I reckon this is a GREAT idea. Just guess how you would feel if you overheard your child telling friends about your regular dates!