I recently wrote an article for Staten Island Parent about fun ways for mothers and daughters to spend time together. Without shopping or going to the nail salon. The link for the article is here and because sometimes it can be hard to read the articles on line, I have also included the text of the article below.
Marvelous Mother-Daughter Dates
I’ve discovered that the only parenting stage tougher than the terrible twos is the ‘terrible tweens.’ One day your sweet, lovable and funny child wakes up and finds you wrong and embarrassing- nearly all the time. Before my daughter becomes a teenager and I am wrong and embarrassing all the time, I plan to spend a lot of time with her, talking, sharing and having fun. Perhaps doing this will make the next stage just a bit easier.
I also hope to spend our time together in activities that support my parenting values. I want her understand that love and money are not the same thing. I want her to know that I respect her for so much more than her beauty. And I want her to know that while I am her friend, I am first and foremost her mother. As tempting as it is to take my daughter shopping or out for a manicure, I hope to find alternatives to these activities.
Here are some of my favorite Mother-Daughter Dates:
Get Moving: Back when my daughter was a toddler, our favorite times were often spent at the park. Now that she is older, I still find that we can have a lot of fun outdoors. While going down the slide together is out of the question, bike rides, and walks have brought us plenty of laughs. For those more serious athletes, consider training and running a local 5K together.
Soups On: Let your daughter choose her favorite meal and together, write the shopping list, go to the store, cook and eat. If this activity becomes a favorite, you can create a cookbook of all your creations. Bonding over food is a great way to talk and learn more about what is on your daughter’s mind.
Craft Away: Visit a local craft shop for inspiration, go home and get to work. Bead bracelets, paint pottery or decorate a wreath. Work on a project together or make gifts for friends or family members.
Museum Magic: Discover what your local museum has to offer. Be it an art, history or science museum, you and your daughter are bound to find something interesting and learn something new. Many museums offer classes or lectures so if you find something that interests both of you, museum going can become a regular activity.
Picnic Time: When my daughter was younger, we would often pack a snack to eat at the park or even in the backyard. Somehow, food eaten outside seemed more exciting. Now that she is older, we can create a more elaborate meal and find a grassy spot in a garden or park to enjoy time together.
Volunteer: Tweens, by definition, spend a good deal of time thinking about themselves and the community directly around them. I love the chance to volunteer with my daughter both for the time it gives us together but also for the opportunity for her to appreciate all that happens in the greater world. Offer to plant flowers outside of your daughter’s school, help an elderly neighbor with their grocery shopping or rake leaves for a sick friend.
Support a Local Team: If your daughter plays sports but is not yet in high school, why not become your high school team’s biggest fans? Watching older girls play a sport that she loves will be both fun and motivating for your daughter and attending the games together will give you both chances to talk and share.
Mother Daughter Book Club: While the idea of a group of mothers and daughters coming together for a book club is a great one, it is also fun to explore a two-person group. When you and your daughter read the same book and then discuss it, there are many opportunities to discuss issues important to both of you.
Coach a Team: Often, families automatically assume that the father should coach the daughter’s team. Why can’t mom be the coach? Attending practices and games is a great way to spend time together.
Plant a Garden: Get outdoors and get dirty. Planting a garden (or a window box or small container) can bring continued mother daughter time as you tend the flowers you have planted.
Girls Night IN: Make popcorn, put on comfy clothes and relax watching your daughter’s favorite movie. The chance to spend quality time at home is a treat in today’s busy world so really focus on your daughter and the conversations you can have.