Last Saturday night I went on a date...with my daughter. I wrote her a note on a piece of paper and left it in her room Wednesday night, in bright colored markers no less, asking if we could spend the evening together that coming Friday. Beginning Thursday morning as she bounded in my room, note in hand, her demeanor which is already pretty fun loving was elevated to a new 'high.' It only took a few moments to plan the evening...I just thought about what Paige loves the most. reading books and the outdoors. We went to her favorite bookstore, a small family owned place called the Blue Manitee and looked at all the horse books on the shelves. I surprised her by buying one, a splurge I rarely make spontaneously. We then walked down the street to her favorite pizza place and ordered a small pizza and carried it out to the park across the street. We ate pizza in the grass while Paige read me her new book. Then we drove to a nearby park with swings, trails and a beautiful overlook where we hiked, went swinging and then sat at the overlook. There I told her stories about when she was born and how much Iove being her mom. I affirmed personality traits that I see emerging in her 8 year old self. As we were walking back we stopped to talk to a woman with a parrot, a therapy bird-never knew of such a thing, who let Paige hold it on her arm. A spontaneoulsy fun ending to a wonderful night! If you have not done had a date night with your child, I strongly recommend it. As you focus on your child's qualities and affirm the person they are becoming, not only will you be giving them the most precious gift of your time and affirmation, you'll receive the gift of perpective on the awesome role you play in your child's life.
Emily Rempe is the co-founder of ProductiveParenting.com, a website that provides free educational activities tailored to your baby or young child's developmental stage. She is also the 2010 Mom Congress delegate from Ohio.