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I have 4 beautiful children that I wish I could spend more time with. They are still young, but without fail someone always tells me, “Make sure you cherish these days. They go by fast. Pretty soon they will be out of the house.”

I always tell them I am doing my best to cherish every second. Sadly, this is not true all of the time. I wish it were. I end each night wanting time back. I want time back to laugh, wrestle, and just talk to the little ones about their day.

My wife and I have tried to make time for “Dates” with each kid. We trade off taking one of them to ice cream, the movies, or just out for some errands. But sometimes we run into the problem of the kids starting to expect big dates every time and not being excited for their siblings when it was the other one’s turn for a date.

It seems like you can’t win. It seems impossible. God asked us to “Be fruitful and multiply,” but didn’t he know we can’t give each kid the attention that they need and want? I desire, like every good parent, a close relationship with my children. How can I make this happen with the daily routines, schedules, sports, church, work, and just plain life?

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why make it so complicated? What really is a Date? A Date is:

1.     Intentional time solely dedicated to your little one. And they know it.

2.     An opportunity to listen

3.     Time set aside for them and only them

4.     Building relationships

5.     Asking questions

The relationships I am building now with my kids are so important and meaningful to me. I want to have open lines of communication where my actions prove that they are the very important to me and I pray this will make it so much easier when the tough times come later into young adulthood.

So my wife and I found a window of time throughout the week to do the impossible. We take turns and go on a date. We eat dinner at 5:00pm and at 5:30-6:00pm someone goes on a date. 

Short, easy, fun, and without too much planning. We go for a walk. We climb a jungle gym. We go for a drive and listen to music with the windows down (I know only in California). We pick flowers. We read books on the grass. I push them on a swing.

My kids are small and they love all of these things. If your kids are older, plan dates with the same purpose.

It isn’t the activity that you are doing that matters, but how present you are when you are together.

Love your kids, build better and longer lasting relationships with them.  Go on a Date!