If your family is like most, even your kids are over-scheduled these days. The amount of time you enjoy as a family unit under the same roof has probably shrunk to a few hours in the evenings and maybe an afternoon on the weekends. To make the most of your limited time together, consider these family-friendly date ideas that will bring your family together without breaking the bank.
1. Hit the playground.
Your kids may get plenty of play time at school or daycare but they’ll still jump at the chance to visit the playground with you. If your town or neighborhood has multiple options, choose a playground that your kids don’t normally visit and watch them delight at the unfamiliar structures and mazes. Your kids may even make some new friends! For you and your spouse, supervising your kids at play provides a great opportunity to meet other parents with similarly-aged children.
2. Enjoy a night in.
“Dates” don’t have to take place outside of the home. Sometimes you and your kids are too tired after a long day at work and school to muster the energy to leave the house. Fortunately, there’s a little thing called takeout food that was invented for nights just like this. Order from your favorite pizza place or Chinese restaurant and chow down around the dinner table; then cozy up in the living room with a movie or other form of entertainment and enjoy some quality family time together.
3. Get your game on.
Your kids may find the notion of board games quaint but that shouldn’t stop them from having a good time if you properly explain the rules and ideas behind stalwarts like Scrabble, Monopoly, or Life. Board games are perfect for rainy weekend afternoons and they occupy large stretches of time without becoming boring for overstimulated kids. They’ll also provide balance by teaching your kids logic and skills independent of the electronic devices that dominate their lives.
4. Keep your eye on the prize.
This one requires some creativity and adventurousness on your part but it’ll pay off in spades. Design a scavenger hunt for your kids and their friends, if any want to come along, using your back yard or indoor spaces within the home. Don’t make it too difficult. You want your kids to be challenged but you don’t want them to become frustrated or wander off. For prizes, hide a variety of healthy snacks, knickknacks, and small amounts of money.
5. Create a learning experience.
Who said learning can’t be fun? Show your kids firsthand that school isn’t the only place they can absorb new knowledge with a trip to the zoo or local museum. Since they’re so hands-on, aquariums are especially popular with younger children. If you have to travel to get to the nearest zoo or aquarium, make a day out of it by exploring the town and grabbing a bite to eat at a local restaurant.
As a parent, you’re over-committed and under-appreciated, especially by your kids. Following the family-friendly date ideas outlined above is a solid first step on the road to bringing your family closer together and keeping your kids entertained for hours. Remember, family dates don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. The important thing is to spend as much quality time together as you can.
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