Going on a co-parent date can be really awkward, I know…I’ve been there. But if keeping that family dynamic intact is important to you then it is imperative to spend time together as a family. Just because you live apart doesn’t mean you have to do everything separate when it comes to spending quality time with your kids.
When I went on my first family date with my ex, it was so weird. We went to Chili’s and ate dinner. I couldn’t even look him in the eye….heck, I still have a hard time looking him in the eye! It was the first time we were around each other longer than 5 minutes and I didn’t know what to expect. We don’t have a hostile relationship or anything but I was scared we would have nothing to talk about.
It took a good 15 minutes or so for everything to chill out. But once I just started talking to him like I was catching up with an old friend, things got less tense. After dinner we went to the bouncy house at the mall. It had a bunch of free arcade games and air hockey. It was actually really fun!
Since then, we have gone on a few family “dates” and I have tons of tips to share with you! Here we go…
Before you tell the kids about the group family date idea, make sure you filter it through your ex first. You may think they will be 100% for it until you mention it and they bring a whole different perspective to light. They may just not be ready. Some people take longer to heal than others. Be respectful of their wishes and don’t force it. You want this to be a positive experience for your kids. Kids can sense tension from a million miles away, so don’t put them through that!
Offer to pay
It can be real awkward when the check comes. So just take out your wallet and have every intention to pay for everything. YOU invited them there, so you should pay. It doesn’t matter about child support and all that, it’s just the polite thing to do. If they want to pay for half or all of it, let them pay. Don’t argue about it. It’s supposed to be about your kids after all.
Keep it light/short
Don’t plan an extravagant itinerary. The more rules you put in place, the easier it will be to have an argument over. The more time you spend together, it increases your chances of things going south. So keep things relatively short, easy and care-free. Don’t talk about your divorce, child-support, their new relationship or anything like that. Talk about what the kids have been up to at school or just let your kids do all the talking. They will likely be ecstatic to spend time with the two of you together and may just “show off” for your attention. So give it!
Co-Parent dates revolve around the kids, so keep the focus!
The whole reason you’re doing this is for the kids. Not for your ex. So if things get a little tense, remember why you went on the family date in the first place. It will help you stay grounded and focused on the task at hand, which is Operation Happy Kid! If your kid senses that either one of you doesn’t want to be there, they won’t have a good time.[bctt tweet=”The whole reason you’re doing this is for the kids. Not for your ex.” username=”makingmalissa”]
The best setting to spend time as a family is out of the normal scene. Stay out of the house and go somewhere you haven’t gone before. If you’ve been to that specific location before, try to go to a different venue with the same activities.
Now that you have the basics down, here’s 20 super awesome co-parent date ideas! These are some options for those who are freshly divorced as well the seasoned divorcees.
- Go to the movies
- Go out for ice cream
- Go to a live sports game/monster truck rally
- Visit the zoo/aquarium
- Play a game of mini golf
- Kid-friendly go-karting
- Go to a local carnival/festival
- Go bowling
- Go ice skating
- Go to dinner & arcade
- Go hiking
- Visit a fire station
- Feed the ducks
- Go fishing
- Rent a canoe
- Play basketball
- Go Pokémon hunting
- Do a walk/run 5K together
- Go on a scenic bike ride
- Play cards/board game at the park