I’m so excited to be launching this monthly series with Melissa from The Eyes of a Boy: Girl Talk/Boy Talk.
Every month, we’ll each write on a topic that is close to our hearts in raising our children — me raising a girl, and her raising two boys. Sometimes those topics will be gender-specific, sometimes we’ll have unique takes based on the unique natures of raising girls or boys, and sometimes the gender won’t really play into it at all.
Today, I wanted to kick off the series with a brainstorm of great mom and daughter date ideas for every budget!
Many of these ideas could also be used for Mom & Son or Father & Daughter dates.
Why is it Important to Spend Special Time with our Kids?
Even if we have special “I love you rituals” built into our everyday life, it can be easy for parents and children to disconnect or even just lose touch with how special our relationships are.
I know because I have one child that it is easier for me to say this, but it is so important to spend special one-on-one time with our children. Yes, family activities are great, but there is something wonderful that awakens in a child when they are the sole focus of your efforts and attention. I try to carve out half an hour each day to spend one-on-one with Miss G, but even spending a couple of hours once per month can be wonderfully restorative to a parent-child relationship.
It’s also important to choose activities that are of interest to your child and “speak their love language.” If your child’s love language is touch, looking for activities that involve closeness and opportunities to cuddle; if your child’s love language is gifts, figuring out how to fulfill on that within whatever boundaries you want to create to prevent overindulgence.
Finding the time can be hard enough, so I wanted to come up with an awesome resource of ideas for mother-daughter dates! Please leave a comment if you have any ideas that are not on this list!
Free Mother-Daughter Dates
- Bake together.
- Cuddle up in bed for a favourite movie or story.
- Picnic in the backyard or living room. Maybe throw in a couple of board games.
- Teach your child something. Try to make it something unique and grown-up, without being too chore-like. It could be anything from how to use a tool, to how to curl hair, or how to use a camera.
- Or have your child teach you something. Let them show you what they are proud of.
- Go for a walk, bike ride, hike.
- Do a craft, or fix something.
- Meditate or learn a few yoga moves.
- Let her try on your clothes or jewelry — maybe even your make-up! If you have any heirloom or special pieces, tell her the stories behind your favourites. (It might also be a good time to initiate a closet purge.)
- Just talk. Explore your child’s wonderful mind, goals, and dreams.
Mother-Daughter Dates Under $5
- Go for ice cream or a pastry. Sitting in a cafe or an ice cream parlour just feels special, especially when you’re being doted on by mom.
- Attend a local event. You’ll be shocked at what free or by donation events are happening this week in your city — check out your local newspaper and library.
- Spend the money on gas and go for a drive — maybe stop at the closest beach or nature conservatory.
- Buy the supplies for a fun science experiment.
- Go to a “local” or “by donation” night at your local museum.
- Make a picnic of local produce. $5 might not go very far, but it can pick up a few snacks at the local farmer’s market — fruit, cheese, and possibly something more indulgent to cap things off.
- DIY Manicures or Pedicures. Take it beyond just a coat of nailpolish by adding in an epsom salt and essential oils foot bath and a good scrub, followed by a heavy cream, and a cute polish and top coat!
- Attend a karma class for yoga, pottery, dance, etc.
- Find coupons for a cheap meal or activity. We recently went bowling for just the cost of my rental shoes (would have been just the cost of both of our rental shoes, but Miss G’s feet were too small).
- Spend frivolously. Let your child loose in a dollar store or supermarket with their $5 and allow them to choose how to spend it. This is a great opportunity to explore the value of money while allowing children to feel independent and lucky.
Mother-Daughter Dates Under $20
- Go out for brunch or lunch.
- Go to the movies and get the popcorn!
- Take your child to their favourite store and indulge them. For Miss G, that would be any gourmet kitchen store. Maybe for your child it would be a craft store, or a hobby shop!
- Cheap spa night. We have a nice spa in our city that does $7 Tuesday manicures for kids, but $20 could also buy the supplies for a night of homemade spa products or at least a nice face mask.
- Plan how to save or invest $20. Maybe your child has a big dream that they should be saving up for. Spend some time talking about their dreams, and exploring the many ways $20 could be saved or invested to help make those dreams come true.
- Spend the money on gas and go for a day trip. Pack your own snacks.
- Go to the bookstore, buy your child a hot chocolate and your favourite childhood classic.
- Let your child pick out a special outfit “just because.”
- Day pass to a fun local attraction. Water park? Drive-in movie? Indoor gym?
- Make a charitable donation. Explore your options online and discuss with your child. $20 can make a huge difference in many different efforts, and your child will feel empowered in giving.
Mother-Daughter Dates Under $100
- Buy a membership to a local attraction. Many yearlong memberships can be found for under $100, or you can also just buy a membership for your one child for their special days.
- Check out a play. Check out discount sites if you live close to a major city or see if they have newsletter sign-up discounts — you can get tickets to awesome, kid-friendly productions for cheap!
- Buy tickets to a sporting event, get the stadium food, and a team souvenir.
- Get a discounted hotel room & have a glamourous sleep-over.
- Day trip.
- A proper spa visit.
- Recreate a favourite memory or date. I loved when my dad used to take me to his old high school hang out, and Miss G loved it recently when I took her out for lunch at my old university campus. Recreating your first date with your daughter’s father, or a special memory you have with your parents would be special as well.
- Spending spree at your child’s favourite store or a bookstore.
- Go out for a pastry or lunch, and spend the time planning on how to save the rest of the money towards a special goal or mini trip.
- Find a local high tea or special lunch. Fancy hotels often hold monthly “high teas” (which are elaborate spreads with sandwiches and teatime treats), and in major cities you can often find American Girl locations that allow young girls to have a special lunch along with their dolls. (Or you can just call ahead to a regular restaurant and make arrangements for a dolly birthday.)
What special mother-daughter dates does your child enjoy? What would you add to this list?
For the moms of boys, are there any suggestions here that you wouldn’t do with your boys? What special things do they enjoy doing with you?