I came up with the idea for the One Hour Mom Date a few weeks ago, and it’s been the best thing for both my kids and me. Here is how these one on one dates work, and a few date ideas so you can try it too!
These hour long one on one dates with my kids have been a family game changer.
A few weeks ago, I had an idea to start a “One Hour Mom Date.” I’ve been wanting to fit in more one on one time with the boys, especially since we moved, but I was struggling to find the time.
So many parents do mom dates or dad dates, but even the thought of dedicating an entire evening to one of my boys, while leaving everyone else at home, just didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t want my one on one time with my boys to take away from family time or my time with Philip.
I thought, really all I need is one hour with them! And thus the One Hour Mom Date was born.
It’s exactly what it sounds like — a one hour date, once a week, with just one of the boys and me.
What are the rules or stipulations of the One Hour Mom Date?
There is only one rule for these dates: they last one hour.
The benefit of making this rule is that it forces us to stay close to home because there’s not really all that much you can do in one hour. Instead of being an extravagant date with dinner and a trip to the indoor trampoline park, it’s a bike ride around our neighborhood, or sitting in the car and reading together. Or getting hot cocoa at the gas station. Or going to the self car wash.
I love that it’s simple and easy, and typically really inexpensive.
What do we do with the other boys during this date?
I already have a babysitter that comes to our house while I work, so every Tuesday she stays an hour later so I can take one of the boys on our date.
I know most of you don’t have a regular babysitter, so it’s not quite as easy. But if you have a babysitter who lives close, it’s easy to have them come over for just an hour, and costs you almost nothing to pay them for just one hour.
If you don’t want to pay for a babysitter, find another mom closeby who will swap with you. You could trade off weekly so you can each do One Hour Mom Dates!
Personally, I don’t want to do these dates when Philip is home because I don’t want to take away from family or spouse time. But you do whatever works best for you!
How many One Hour Dates do you do per week?
We do one date per week, every Tuesday.
I only do it with the older boys since Sanny gets a lot of one on one time with me during the mornings before I go to work, so the boys alternate weeks. B goes one Tuesday, and then Fos goes the following Tuesday.
This feels very manageable for me. I want this to be enjoyable, not stressful, and I think twice a week would quickly feel like a burden for me.
But again, you’re a different mom than I am — do what works for you!
At what age do you recommend starting these kid dates?
I’d recommend starting once your kiddos go to school. That’s when you start to see them less and when that one on one time becomes vitally important.
If your child is 10 or 16 or 21, it’s not too late to start! One on one time is important for everyone to feel noticed and loved. Start this week!!
How do you decide what to do on these One Hour Mom Dates?
What do we do on these dates? I let the boys decide! The first time we did it, B asked me to give him some options and then he chose from that list.
You can help them decide, but I think it’s more meaningful and special for them if you let them pick whatever they want.
Here are some ideas for your One Hour Mom Dates!
- Ride bikes around your neighborhood
- Visit the library and spend an hour choosing books together
- Wash the car together at a local self car wash (you know, the kind where you spray the water gun?)
- Practice driving in a big empty parking lot. For little kids, let them sit on your lap and steer. My dad did this with us as kids and it was my favorite!
- Go to a nearby bookstore and read together
- Take a walk together
- Go for a run together
- Stay at home (send the siblings to the park with the babysitter or send them to a neighbors) and cook a treat together
- Play catch at the park
- Grab some hot cocoa at the gas station and then find rain puddles to splash in
- Bring your soccer ball or basketball to the park and play a game
- Buy some Slurpees at the gas station and take a walk in the sunshine while drinking them
- Draw with sidewalk chalk together
- Stay at home and do an art project together – paint or draw or color
My goal with these dates is to get outside the house (although some ideas above are for staying at home) and create an environment for real connection where we can talk and laugh and just be together undistracted.
If you read through that list and had a few other ideas pop into your head, please share in the comments or over on my Instagram post!
And most importantly, if you feel like this is something you should do with your kids (which you totally should), just start. Figure out a day and make it happen. You will not regret it!
Photos by Priscilla Frey