As a father of three, I found that I was getting too busy and I was just reacting to the needs of the family schedule. I realized that by getting caught up in the hectic daily routine, I was focusing more attention on one or two of my children instead of equal attention on all three.
When I first had the idea, I called it “Date Night with Dad” but I was met with an immediate look from my son, who promptly said, “Dad, sons don’t have date nights with their dads! Can we call it something else?” So now I call it “Dad’s Night” with my son and “Date Night with Dad” with my daughters. I have found that it is a great way to get quality, one-on-one time with each child and create an important emotional balance in your family.
The Problem: We get too busy
As a father of three, I found that I was getting too busy and I was just reacting to the needs of the family schedule. There is school work, home work, soccer practice, guitar lessons, soccer games, piano lessons etc… All of these activities are important, but I realized that by getting caught up in the hectic daily routine, I was focusing more attention on one or two of my children instead of equal attention on all three.
The Solution: Book a Date with Dad
I actually found that my children loved the idea when I first proposed it to them at dinner. Their reaction was positive and beside the “dads don’t date their sons” comment from my son, it’s been a total success.
1. Attention, not Destination
The first rule we mapped out was to make the “date” about quality attention from dad, not a destination. This means it’s not about spending a lot of money or an exciting entertainment venue. It could be a visit to a bookstore together or a walk to a park and a quality conversation.
2. No Business Talk
The Second rule was that dad could not talk business or have his cell phone on for business.
3. Priority Scheduling
The third rule was to make sure we make it a priority to allowing 1-2 hours for the special time; it could be “banked” for the weekend, but never a carry-over to the next week. It could be a day time or an evening event.
A perfect example of this activity was this incredible moment with my youngest daughter. She wanted to spend her hour with me in the backyard while I was preparing a summer barbeque. It was such a special moment for us. I showed her how the grill worked. I told her what summer barbequing meant to me when I was her age and how I did the very save thing with my father. And then the magic happened. As she sat on my lap in the backyard patio, she leaned back into my chest and looked right up into the dusk sky. She said, “You know daddy, this moment will never happen again, will it?” I looked down at her and I knew what she meant. I said, “No honey, it will never exactly happen again and I am so grateful that I got to share this moment with you.” I will always remember that moment was created by a dad wanting to balance his time with his three kids.
I now know that these “dates” have allowed me to have a better understanding of each of my children’s needs and interests. I feel like I have become a better connected father and my relationship with each of my children feels stronger. I encourage every one of you to start a date night tradition with your children. You will create memories that you will value long after they have moved out and started their own lives.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”