Do you date your children? When I first heard that term I thought it was a little bizarre. Dating was for my husband, I thought, not my children. This was of course before I became a mom. Once I had children I started to realize and understand the importance of my husband and I needing to spend one-on-one time with each them. As a child therapist, I prescribe just this to my clients more often than I can count. I have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from all of the families I have treated and how adding this component to their schedules and routines has enhanced their relationships and family attachment. My clients have also reported their children having lessened tantrums and outbursts and a lower need for attention and negative behavior.
My husband and I started going on dates with our daughter when she was as young as one year old. The older she became she would start asking to go on dates with either of us at any given time. She knew it was special and she would look forward to them. Dating our daughter became much more imperative after we gave birth to her little brother. Spending time with her individually became vital for her wellbeing, self worth, and self-image. It even became much more important to us as parents. And now that our son is one year old, we eat individually date both of our children at least once a month. The best part is that when one of us is on a date with one child, the other one of us can take the other child on a date at the same time!
Dating your children does not have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Spending 30 minutes a week or having one date per month with each child has its benefits. The more children you have the more time you’ll need to set aside, but overall, even one special date once a month with each child will be enough! Simply going to the park, making a craft or a special meal together will suffice. One family I treated had “special time” each day as one parent and one sibling went to get the mail together each day after school. It was “their time” together, and only for them. You can get creative, have fun, and save time and money by deciding in advance what your special time will look like. Have your child invest their opinions in the decision making, too!
My daughter loves spending time with her dad on dates. They often go play mini golf, go to the movies, get frozen yogurt, go to the park, or even out to dinner, depending on the week or month.
I typically take my daughter to a very special mommy daughter date once a month that we often plan for well in advance. Over the last year, we have gone to see Disney on Ice, the circus, The Museum of Ice Cream, and most recently the Nutcracker. She looks forward to our mommy daughter dates just as much as I do.
If you read Part I of my Nutcracker post from last week you know that we were supposed to see the show last weekend but she came down with a fever and a cold the morning of our show’s performance and we were unable to go when we originally planned. Luckily the box office was understanding and flexible enough to accommodate the change in plans and provide us with tickets to this weekend show instead.
So this weekend, my daughter and I finally saw The Nutcracker this past weekend for a mommy daughter date performed by The California Ballet at The San Diego Civic Theater! My daughter was so excited to go downtown to see all of the big buildings and the lights. When we arrived, we parked at the Civic Theatre’s parking structure and only had to pay $10! And luckily, the attendant took a check because I had no cash on me and they didn’t accept cards.
Our tickets were waiting for us, as planned, at Will Call and luckily by the time we arrived there was no line to pick them up. We walked right into the theater and were kindly greeted by the ushers and directed us to our seats. We picked up a booster seat along the way and unlike other shows we have attended at different places in the past, there were plenty of booster seats to choose from for any family that would have wanted one.
A huge thank you to The California Ballet for providing us with perfect seats that were right in the center of the theatre, only about 10 rows from the stage. And fortunately no one was sitting directly in front of my daughter’s seat so she was able to see the show with no obstruction. Soon as the lights dimmed and the curtain opened, my daughter was all about the performance. She was engaged the entire time. I thought she would’ve asked me why there were no words in the show but she didn’t. She loved the live orchestra music, costumes, and dancing so much I don’t think it even phased her.
The first Act of the show lasted one hour. During intermission we were able to stretch our legs in the lobby, go to the restroom, and even grab a snack, peruse the gift shop, and take some photo ops before heading back into the theater. My daughter’s only big question of the day was, “why are all these people in line for the bathroom?” But despite the small line that formed, there was an usher in the bathroom directing people into stalls and our wait went by very quickly. And despite the eclectic audience, I was happy to see so many families with young children at the show. Our seats were even sandwiched between two other moms with their young preschool/young elementary aged children as well.
Once the second Act of the show began, my daughter started asking for more food. Luckily I brought my diaper bag with a few snacks and also brought her water bottle, which I highly recommend if you go see this show. The second Act lasted just over 45 minutes. At a fresh age of 4, I was proud that she was attentive almost all the way through, however, about 10 to 15 minutes before the show ended she started becoming a little restless. I moved the booster seat to the seat I was sitting in and had her sit on my lap for the remainder of the show and it worked out just fine!
After the show she couldn’t have been more excited to meet The Sugarplum Fairy and have a special photo opportunity! There was just a short line and we only had to wait just a few minutes until it was our turn. In fact, there were photo opportunities with different dancers/performers from the show all over the Grand Salon. There was also a huge gift shop with two large, gorgeous Christmas trees decorated in Nutcracker ornaments and a table filled with dozens of different colors and styles of Nutcrackers, snow globes and more! My daughter opted for a Clara stuffed animal doll, which she ended up sleeping with that night after the show. I typically like to buy her a little souvenir from each of our mommy daughter dates as a memento of our time together.
I highly recommend the show for all San Diego and or Southern California families with young boys and girls alike. The show recommends the minimum age of 4 during the two-hour performances, which includes intermission. And there is still one weekend left to see it and tickets are still available! The Nutcracker will be performed this upcoming weekend on December 20-23. They have matinee and evening performances available! The shows, except the Toddler and Autism/Sensory friendly performances, have a live orchestra under the baton of Music Director John Stubbs, Tchaikovsky’s extravagant score comes to life with a cast of over 150!
So make a holiday memory with your children and please visit http://californiaballet.org for tickets to The Nutcracker and other shows like The Great Gatsby – coming this April 2018! Other shows this season included Swan Lake and Billy Elliott! To become a member for various perks and join as low as $25 a year, please visit http://californiaballet.org/membership/ You can also call 570-1100 from any San Diego area code including 760, 858, and 619! Tickets start as low as $25 and children under 12 receive up to a 20% discount! Pricing includes a $2.50 facility restoration fee.