I'm a big believer in “dating” your children. Now don't get me wrong, it's important to spend time together as a family. But we have unique relationships with each of our kids, and those relationships need to be fostered and cultivated.
Just like we do with friends and significant others, we need to make sure to create space with each of our children to enjoy time with each other – to laugh and play and learn and explore – in addition to managing the details of our lives.
Our kids need to have a connection with us so that when something does come up that needs support, they'll have trust and confidence that we are there for them. We want them to know that they are loved unconditionally – not just when their laundry is put away. And those moments of trust and connection happen in one-on-one encounters.
So consider asking your kids out on dates – and let them guide the activity (within reason). You'll be amazed at how often they're happy with a walk to the park or a board game. Most of all, they just want your undivided attention (that is not about making sure they get something done).
And one more thing – when you're on that date? Try to keep your corrections and re-directions to a minimum. Just enjoy the moment. Trust me…it goes by faster than you think!