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10 Tips for Coming Up with Mother-Daughter Dates

My daughter L has requested a “Year of Mother-Daughter Dates” for the third consecutive year. Does she think she’d ever like something else? With a teasing smile and very firm attitude, she says, “No.” I’ll share some ideas since this may be continuing for my foreseeable future! See previous years here and here.

Entering Teenagehood

L will turn 13, so as she navigates Junior High it seems more important than ever for us to have opportunities to tune in to what’s going on in her life, and set aside uninterrupted, focused attention for her. It’s also a chance for us to enjoy life! I only get her for 5-6 more years… this is a gift of quality time together. We both love having a year of planned dates, so I guess it makes sense that we will keep on doing them!

10 Tips for Coming Up with Mother-Daughter Dates

Change It Up. Variety keeps it interesting no matter how many dates you plan for! If you’re stuck doing the same things over again and need something fresh: what is it about your “tried and true” activities that work well, and how can you put a spin on that? My daughter loves going out to eat with me, so I tried to think of a way to incorporate eating somewhere. We are doing a “Tour of Our Town” where one of the stops is having Brunch at a new local restaurant we’ve wanted to try.

Go With Your Values. What new experiences would we like to have together? What new activities can we try? I chose things that encourage us to learn and grow together—like the sciences and arts, adventuring outside, and volunteering. I chose some activities that may require routine and allow us to work on life skills, like tending to a mini garden, and financial literacy. I believe anything can be made special and become a Date!

Listen to Your Daughter. Pay attention to what she’s told you she wants to do or gets excited over, and what she has specifically not wanted. What have you talked about doing before, and can dedicate the time or funds for now? What are her interests and areas that she might enjoy a challenge?

Play to Your Interests. What would YOU have fun doing? Maybe there’s a special show or spa that you’re dying to go to, and make it a Date with your daughter if she’s up for trying. If you have to push for something or try to sell it to her, that’s probably a sign that it’s not a good fit.

Support Local. I love supporting local businesses! What new places can you try? I look for places with great reviews. We’ll take a dance class at our neighborhood dance studio. Through an online search, I found a new local bookstore that looks like Heaven to both of us! I also found an open lab especially for kids where she can perform science experiments with all the materials and instructions already prepared.

Balance with Low Effort. Part of the variety in these dates is mixing in “Big Ones” with more “Simple” ones. I tried to plan some casual dates we can do at home, for times like the end of the year when things get really hectic and I have low energy or we’re not able to “get away”. These are things that we can do with what we already have or require very little prep: Lego Night, Puzzles, or a Coloring Book session.

Try Seasonal. Some dates can be adapted for any weather- such as bringing a picnic indoors and near a fire or an unused part of the house. I plan most of our outdoor activities during nicer weather, and do a museum or an indoor activity when it’s too hot or cold. Maybe let the seasons guide you and do the traditional things- like a pool day during summer and The Nutcracker in the winter.

Plan Around Special Events. I get inspired by some of the obscure National Days (Thumb appreciation day, Pretend to be a Time Traveler day, National Donut Day, etc.), or celestial events like eclipses and meteor showers. Perhaps there are local festivals or geeky conventions your daughter would appreciate. Check out Arts & Theatres for movies showing, performances, concerts, and plays. There are also special days we plan around, such as our birthday month where I like to spend a little more doing something a bit more extravagant or coming home with something.

Let Your Budget Decide. Do you have coupons for some fun places like bowling, frozen yogurt, a nail salon, or your daughter’s favorite store or restaurant? Can you do a Movie Night In with your Netflix, and make it a sleepover? If there’s an experience you’d like to have that’s more expensive, you might be able to save by booking early and planning ahead, or saving up for it.

Try Unconventional. Here’s a weird one! 😉 L is earning money already and needs to open a bank account, but bank hours are so annoying. After counseling together, we decided to make a Date of it. We can go over her options for Youth savings accounts, go into a branch and get it done, play financial literacy games, maybe budget for lunch. If you’re both interested and willing to try, there’s nothing stopping you from doing something a little different.

And now to the actual Dates!

This Year’s 12 Mother-Daughter Date Ideas

When I asked her which ones she is most looking forward to, she said Dancing and the Poppy Bookstore.

  1. Fun with Finance
  2. Zumba Dance Class
  3. Bookstore + Gift Shop
  4. Roller Skating
  5. Garden
  6. Picnic
  7. Mad Science Lab
  8. Tour Our Town
  9. Geocaching
  10. Volunteer
  11. Scrapbooking
  12. Lego Night

My daughter said I might not have to do illustrations next year and just provide a list, as long as we do the things on it. They turned out a bit more detailed and elaborate this year. I had a lot of fun with the paint set my sister gifted me years ago. L is such a visual creature and pins up these watercolor cards on her bulletin board to see them next to her calendar.

I hope this helps Future Me (and maybe Present You) in intentionally finding ways to spend more quality time with your loved one.

Love, Kat

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