Dates with Dad
This page is dedicated to ideas for taking our kids out on dates. Please add your own ideas for all of us to share!
1. The Discipline Hike
One thing my wife and I begin to do when the children are quite young, is hiking. Around 2 years old we begin their training and getting them hiking up mountains. In this picture, I am with my daughter Kate. During her 'tyrannical twos', we were at our end with our strong-willed child. The solution that presented itself (after many forms of persuasion, coercion, and consequences) was dates with dad combined with exercise. So, every week, I took out my dear daughter for a hike in nature where she got daddy time, exercise and increased her endurance. The result: less behaviours and melt-downs at home.
Specifically: we did a hike in Wiener Wald near Vienna where the Stations of the Cross were built as stations on a 45 min. hike. We would hike, then pray, then hike. In the between times we would look for sticks to make a cross to leave at the next station.
2. The 'Best of' type date
After being disappointed at various restaurants, I began to put a bit more research into our dates. I searched for the 'best of' type places. On this date specifically, I looked up the best Creperies in Paris and decided on a couple. We were pleased with the results. Great crepes, and especially great ambiance. And, there was the adventure in trying to find the place!
3. Sacramental Date
This date wasn't technically a date, though in essence it was as we were together with each other. In preparing for my children's First Confession, I take them on a retreat (I'll provide this later in a blog post) in the wilderness which ends with prayer, examination of conscience and, of course, Confession. It was an excellent way to bond with my son. We journeyed together, were cleansed, and celebrated with ice cream after in the dead of winter. Very fun!
4. Double Digit Date
When our children reach their double digits, the father (me) takes them on a 3 day week-end to celebrate and pray together. I took my oldest daughter, Winter, to Paris for the 3 days. We went holy sites to pray for her as she begins to enter adolescence and saw the sights. I'll do a blog post on this later - as to how plan an excellent double digit date.
5. Father's Day Date
Every Father's Day there is no gift giving for Daddy. The gift given is time. The children go on a Father's Day hike with Dad. We pick a hike, camp overnight in the wilderness and enjoy our time together.
6. Cold Winter Day Date
Cold outside? Make a fire, pick some rose hips and pine needles and make a tea. A great way to warm up!
8. Pilgrimage Date I
Walk to the Basilica in your diocese and offer up your intentions to our Blessed Mother. The walk together and the praying together will be bonding.
7. Survival Skill Date I: Make a wooden whistle
One thing I enjoy is simply looking up a survival or nature skill on the internet or with friends and then doing it with the kids. Here we made wooden whistles.
8. Photo-shoot Date
My daughters love it when I take them out and do a photo shoot with them. They feel like princesses. Bring a good camera, pick some unique spots, bring different accessories to switch out for different photos. As well, you may look at some photographers' websites for posing ideas. Be creative and make it fun!
9. Collect Spring Water Date
This is more of a family date in our family. We try on a regular basis to find a spring and to fill up our bottles and carboys with water. This gets us out in nature being together and on a mini-adventure together.
10. Take the kids fishing!
I like to fish, but am honestly no angler. We rarely catch much, but simply the act of going out together and trying makes for a great date.
11. Visit a Cemetery
If you are looking for some conversation with your kids, try taking them to a cemetery. In this picture, I took my kids to an ossuary where the bones were collected and stored after a grave yard had to be moved. It leads to conversations about death and life and what really matters. Plus, there is history to wondered at, stories to be created, and prayers to be said.
12. Have a Picnic
I enjoy finding unique places to picnic together. I often will purchase some treat or food and we won't be allowed to eat of it until we find just the right place. This means we need a nice view, a place to relax and a place to play. Here we found a little cove washed out by the waves where we could picnic and watch the waves.
13. Sleep Outside under
Sometimes, just for fun, I'll announce to the kids that we'll be sleeping under the stars tonight. When the weather rises from -20 C to +2 C it feels balmy and warm. This is a great time to sleep out on the deck and enjoy making a new memory with your children.
14. Winter Picnic
A winter picnic in the forest is always a special treat for the children. I bring hot chocolate, a treat, and a book to read.