If I said date nights for mom and dad are very important in a relationship, I doubt many people would disagree. After 20 years together, almost 9 years as parents, my husband and I cherish that time alone.

What about dating your children? Many parents like to take their kids on individual outings so that they get one on one time with each parent. I love doing this! One of my favorite things to do is to surprise one of the kids at lunch and take them out for a burger unexpectedly. The sheer delight on their faces when they see me and hear we’re leaving school together for an hour is awesome! We don’t do it as often as I’d like and that’s definitely something that we need to work on!

But have you ever considered dating as a family? All of you together, out in the world, enjoying being a unit? Think about your last outing as a family. Was it a vacation? Was it a trip to a local attraction or show? It was probably a little rushed, a little stressful, or both.

We recently went on an outing that genuinely felt like a date. We asked our kids out (rather than presenting the outing as a fait accompli). We drove to the bowling alley and held hands, not because we were keeping them safe, but because their small hands feel good in our big ones. We bought them treats, we listened to them talk, we got excited by their excitement, we teased and laughed together.

Then we went to a restaurant for dinner and instead of fighting to sit together, we went with the flow and let each child choose which parent to sit next to.  They ordered their meal, used their manners, we played silly games at the table and tried bites off each others plates and we all had a lovely meal together that didn’t involve cooking, cleaning, or nagging! It felt like an honest-to-goodness actual date!

With the exception of every date with my husband have been on together, that was hands down the best date I’ve ever had and I can’t wait to go out with my favorite son and favorite daughter again.

mommy son

What do you do for family date night?