The idea we came up with was that each Saturday morning was Papa’s “data time”, and the person who has claim to him rotates.
R.T., Jewel, and Nick each get one Saturday each month, in that order. The Air Force claims one Saturday each month, as well, and its choice displaces all others and moves the schedule back a week for all remaining children.
On those months when there is a fifth Saturday, it’s mine. One of these days we’ll figure out a way to have more “date night” time, but that’s a topic for another day.
With suggestions, and the occasional veto, the kids are allowed to choose what they want to do with Papa.
As a general rule, they must leave the house (to avoid distractions); we also try to minimize the cost (of course). It’s not often they have trouble coming up with something that sounds exciting to them – as long as they get their time with Papa!
Dates so far have included:
- Swimming (at the base pool)
- Playing at the beach / Sandcastles
- Visiting the Children’s Museum
- Seeing a movie (not our favorite, but allowed for the teen as long as a meal and discussion followed)
- Bouncing on the giant bungee trampoline at the mall
- Mini golf
- Used-car shopping (and car buying lessons)
- Flying a kite
- Board Games (while I make sure they’re left alone, the teen and Papa enjoy the occasional game of ‘Risk’ or other non-Family-Game-Night type games)
- Watching a video together at home (also for the teen, also structured to facilitate engagement, a particular well-known older movie that Papa and he has talked about extensively but he had never seen)
The important thing is that we are committed to this. Wolf doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time on his work, nor do his hobbies take him away from the family much. (What a great Papa!)
But the kids really cherish having this one-on-one time time with him that they can look forward to, rather than having to share him all the time.