Family Life Parenting

10 Fifteen Minute Dates to Do With Your Children

This post was created in partnership with Goldfish

Last spring, I wrote a post about doing 15 minute dates with your children.

This idea has been on my mind a lot in the last six weeks since Tally was born and my attention has been even more divided.

I feel like, whenever I have a new baby, I have to work even harder to strengthen my relationships with my other children because not only am I focused on an additional child who needs a lot of attention and care, but I also am asking more of my other children (“Can you grab a diaper?” “Can you wait until I’m done nursing?”) and, thanks to a lack of sleep, I’m less patient and kind because I’m functioning on so much less sleep than normal.

So it’s vital for me to make an effort to spend quality time with my other children.

While I love a bigger date time with my children, right now it’s just not that feasible most of the time, and I need to connect with my three older girls one-on-one more than just once a month or so.

A fifteen minute date is reasonable on a daily basis and is so good for both them and me. Even when I’m the most busy, I can set aside 15 minutes and what we do doesn’t have to be anything as elaborate as this activity!

These are ten of the activities that my girls love most during these quick little date times:

  1. Go for a walk around the block. Since we’re home more than usual right now, I’m often pretty stir-crazy by the time dinner is over and dying to stretch my legs. I’ll have one girl bring along their scooter or bike and we’ll do one or two turns around the block while Bart does the dishes and entertains the other girls at home.
  2. Run an errand together. As one of five children, I always liked going to the grocery store with my mom on my own and being able to have her undivided attention. Now, if I have a quick errand to run, I invite one of the girls to join me. They love helping me pick out a bunch of bananas or give a package to the post office clerk. And if we get a little treat at the checkout counter, no one complains about that either.
  3. Read a few picture books. We read a gazillion picture books around here, but there’s something special about doing it with just one of my girls. It’s a delight to let them pick whatever books they want and read it over and over if they want and not have to fight to sit on my lap or next to me. Bonus points for  being something I can do while I’m nursing (even if that makes it not REALLY one-on-one time).
  4. Play “Don’t Eat the Goldfish.” We’ve been playing this game for years and years and my girls never get tired of it. You can use any type of treat (I love Goldfish crackers because they’re not sticky and they don’t sugar my children up like crazy) and any paper. We made a little video below of how to play if you want to try it out!
  5. Color together. My girls LOVE to color and we have a whole stack of coloring books and various crayons, markers, gel pens, and colored pencils. Going into one of their rooms and quietly coloring together is a great way to have some fun conversations and it’s super relaxing for me, which is a bonus.
  6. Organize something. This might sound like a weird one, but my girls love helping with this sort of thing (when I was organizing my spice cupboard a week or so ago, all my children were swarming around begging to help!). They love a little responsibility and poking around in a drawer or cupboard or closet and seeing things that seem like treasures to them!
  7. Jump on the trampoline. I’ve been out of commission on the trampoline for the last ten months, but the girls love it when one of us jumps with them, plus it burns off a lot of energy if they’re particularly wiggly. And if I’m not up for 15 full minutes of bouncing around, it’s fun to lay on the trampoline and find shapes in the clouds.
  8. Dance Party. What kid doesn’t like cranking up some favorite music (ahem, Moana songs) and dancing like crazy? And even better when your parent joins the fun. Let them act as DJ and show off your moves.
  9. Paint their nails. My girls will never say no to having their nails done, and if I let them paint MY nails, it’s even better.
  10. Photo Blast. The iPhone camera is a precious thing to my kids and if I let them go around the house for 3 minutes and take pictures of whatever they want, they love coming back and showing me each photo and describing exactly why they picked it. It’s great as an activity that involves me sitting on the couch and also it’s so darling to see their view of the world. And they love having my undivided attention as they talk through their little mini photo album.

Bart’s favorite little date with the girls is showing them YouTube videos or playing “Drop the Point” which is basically just trivia questions.

I’d love to hear what 15 minute dates you and your children love. And if you’d like to see some more fun family activities and snacks, check out the Goldfish Pinterest page for lots of inspiration.

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  • Reply Suzanne April 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

    “Don’t eat the goldfish” is seriously adorable. I think my daughter would LOVE such a fun, goofy game.

  • Reply Helen Reynolds April 3, 2017 at 7:45 am

    My kids and now my grandkids love this silly game! It always makes the one eating jump and the other kids laugh. Now I have Incorporated it with my Primary kids at church as a way to pick songs. They love it! Very cute video!

  • Reply Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat. April 3, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    These are great ideas! My littles both like puzzles right now. And reading is forever and always a great option.

  • Reply Paige April 4, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I love these ideas! We’ve been trying to small things like this with our kids a lot more and it makes such a big difference when they get that one on one time!

  • Reply Rachel April 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Last week Mattie and I had a rough morning. I had just read this post so I suggested we color together after lunch. I have done lots of different crafts with my girls but never had just sat down to color and it did wonders for both of us! Thanks!

  • Reply Cheri April 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    So fun! I love the ‘organize something’ idea. When my nephew comes over for the day he always asks if we can clean something out. It’s a hoot. I guess it’s fun to paw through someone else’s junk.
    Another no-brainer “date” that works great for too tired to think parents is to simply sit and watch your child play. Sometimes I would just go outside and sit next to their play area, or come sit on their bed and just be. It was a welcome relief for me and they just love to have an audience giving 100% attention.

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