Just because you’re a single parent (or dating one) doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Even if you can’t seem to find a babysitter spur of the moment, there’s no reason why you should skip dating. Seeking a connection takes time and we know that single parents are limited in what’s free in that department.
Fear not! There are simple, economical and easy ways to meet and socialize with new prospects, even if kids come along.
Now you’re not going to want to take your kids to meet a date in a bar or coffee shop. Their boredom would be so distracting that your date might not have a real chance to win points with you.
So here’s a list of seven ways to build a connection while entertaining the kiddos on your date with a prospective match.
And here’s a few more tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t make it too long. Kids need their nap time or to get washed up and in bed by their normal schedule. You might want to skip on long road trips or anything that requires too many “pee breaks.”
- Don’t refer to your date as “uncle” or “aunt” so-and-so. First meetings for kids and your date may be awkward, so keep the introduction simple by calling him or her your “friend.” Some suggest waiting until a more solid relationship develops to meet your kids, but others maintain that it’s better to find out right away if there will be conflicts between your kids and a love connection. You can decide when you’re ready if you want to have a family day out with a date.
- Don’t freak out if your kids don’t like him/her right away. Maybe your kids are too sensitive to having their mom or dad replaced. They tend to be irritable upon first meetings. Don’t give up too soon on a new prospect just because your kids may not approve. After all, you can be your own judge on how you feel about someone.
- Keep a keen eye on how your date treats your kids. This is the perfect opportunity to see how your new prospect treats kids (namely, yours). If you pick up a Grinch vibe with their lack of interaction, consider it a red flag that he or she isn’t comfortable around kids. But even if your date showers your kids with love, continue to watch for consistent behavior. Most people know the way to a single parent’s heart is through his or her kids.
Don’t forget sunscreen outdoors and bring all the supplies you need for your kids (and yourselves).
1. Picnic in the park
1. Picnic at the park.
Grab some grub, a few drinks and a blanket or towel and head to your local park. If you or your date can make a mean sandwich, the kids will be pleased and you (or your date) may fall in love with “sammich skills.” I know of a few people who fell in love with a great sandwich-maker (myself included).
Not only is it tribally instinctive, but there’s just something fun about bonding around an open fire. Maybe it’s the smell of burning wood, the s’mores, the cozy effect of a glowing flame over a sunset sky…. the possibilities are endless. Just make sure your kids don’t get too close to the embers!
3. Staying in
3. Staying indoors.
You can cook a great meal together or rent a video and snuggle on the couch. Either way, the kids will be safe at home and you’ll be at peace with your environment. Stock up on microwave popcorn or set up your Netflix account. You won’t regret it.
4.Hike on a nature trail
4. Hike on a nature trail.
What an all-encompassing experience: you get to enjoy great views, your muscles get a good workout, and your kids will be so fatigued by the trail that they’ll crash into bed freeing up your time to be with your date (one-on-one). One drawback might be that you, too, will be winded. In that case, you can still snuggle on your couch and enjoy a movie together.
5. Family Art Day at a local museum
5. Family Art Day at your local museum.
Most museums will cater to kids and families, so it’s just a mouse-click away to check what’s available in your town. Here in San Diego, occasionally you can visit the Oceanside Museum of Art to spend a day with the kids creating art for free. Who knows, you may discover your date’s undiscovered talent!
6. Zoo day
6. Zoo day.
You, your date, your kids and some animals. Or is that redundant? Either way, spending a day walking through an animal park will be an adventure for kids and a way of bonding through conversation with any dates. You may want to skip the chimpanzees if they make too much noise.
7. Beach or water park
7. Beach or water park.
Kids will love to spend some time splashing outdoors, weather permitting. Meanwhile, you and your date can be socializing, learning more about each other and examining how you both look in swimwear. Hey, you’re bound to see more later if it’s meant to be. Might as well “take the splash” and get down to your bathing suit right away.