Just after I had our first daughter, a wise friend told me that when she was around 9 years old her mom would take her out on a weekly date.
They would go to the same restaurant for breakfast on the same day of the week. They just spent that weekly time together talking about ordinary things usually. Sometimes it was deep and serious but usually it was just time together.
She told me how much she looked forward to having mom "all to herself."
So when our eldest was 9 ish, I started taking her out for a weekly (we did miss a few here or there) breakfast. We went to the same place every Saturday morning. I found that even though we didn't usually discuss anything big, it helped her to feel like she had my attention and didn't have to share it with her younger siblings.
I don't remember how we stopped doing the breakfasts. I think it was when I was having health problems. Now we usually have a "date" in my room where we chat about whatever is on her heart and the younger two aren't allowed to interrupt.
Well, our youngest daughter is now 10 and she's in that familiar, quirky, fourth grade age. We have started our breakfast dates. We are a little more adventurous though. We try a different breakfast place each time we go. It hasn't been weekly. It's been more like monthly but even that infrequently it's helped our "middle" child to feel like I see her and have time for her.
We're going out this morning and I thought I would share what works for us. It seemed especially important to do after that Empty Nest post from Shannon's "What I'd Like You To Know" series.
For more things that work or to post your own, visit Rocks In My Dryer.
Now if you'd excuse me, I need to go get ready for my date!
Updated: Here is my coloring page from the restaurant! :)