How do you spend quality time with your dd? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Just curious...after having realized that the amount of quality time I spend with my near 11y/o dd is negligible I feel like I need to revisit my schedule and carve out some time for her. Some of my challenges are that:


a) I also have a 9 y/o dd who wants my attention and enjoys doing everything we do so she often ends up being with us (not ideal in my 11y/o eyes)


b) I don't drive so even going to the mall/library etc. requires dh and dd2 to come along for the ride to get us to where we are going, this week the temperature dropped to the -30's celcius so walking isn't always an option.


c) Time, time, time. Often when I am not working my husband is - so again dd2 is with us.


d) She is reluctant to do physical things...she is not athletic, is a bit of a homebody and isn't easily motivated to get up and get moving, she likes to play with her dolls (I can't sit and play that way anymore!) I however like to be out and about, on the go.


e) Financial: we used to do Friday night date nights. Dh would take one dd and I would take the other and do something special with each, one on one, then the next week we would switch dd's. It ended up feeling like it was getting expensive because every week felt like it had to be some big event...going for dinner and a movie, going to the bowling alley etc. It would be nice to keep it low key.


f) All my time at home feels like work time: dishes, laundry, meal preparation, telling the kids what to do: clean their rooms, do their homework, etc. etc. This is why I think it feels like we don't have quality time together...what kid wants to spend quality time with their mom trying to get them to clean their room? When speaking about this with someone recently who asked what kinds of things we do together on our own that's all I could come up with...I help her clean her room, help her wash her hair in the shower etc. Fun. :(


Some ideas that I have had include:


- going for a walk

- would love to take a yoga class together but haven't found one suitable for her age, although could be pricey.

- swimming at the community pool

- visit the humane society to play with the cats

- weekly baking

- would love to find a volunteer position that we could do together

- going to the library


Right now if we were to do almost anything on that list my younger dd would be disappointed that she wasn't included because she loves all that stuff too.


I will ask her what she would be interested in doing of course, but am curious how other moms find quality time with their preteen girls. I would like to be able to have one thing that is just for us, that we both love and are committed to doing it once a week.


Looking forward to hearing what other moms do and how you carve out that time that is so important in these transition years.

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#2 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 09:18 AM
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Could you try asking your dd what would feel special to her?  I have been surprised sometimes by my dd's ideas about spending time together.  It might be interesting to see what she wants.

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#3 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 11:19 AM
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I can relate to the woes of spending one on one time with closely spaced, same age sibs!


Most of our quality time is group time. I still read out loud to my kids every day, and they are 12 and 14. This is such a wonderful way to connect. I highly, highly recommend it.


A board game once a week is a wonderful, free thing.


Going back to your date night idea is good, but brain storming cheap/free things in your city would help. May be switching it to a different time (such as Sunday afternoon) when there are more cheap/free options would help, or cutting it to doing something one on one with each kid once a month. I think that having one on one time every week with a child is difficult until their siblings are old enough to enjoy being left at home on their own.


Both of my DDs love going to the bookstore. Me taking just one of them to Barnes and Noble, browsing together, letting them pick a new book, and then sitting in the cafe having tea together is our favorite mother/daughter outing.


Finding volunteer things to do together can be tricky because so many places want the kids to be 15, but it is sooo worth it!!! We do a community art project together!



but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 02:07 PM
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what about alternating weeks.

one week is your special time w/11yo next week is special time w/9yo.  if dh is available one time slot a week it would be a double bonus because he would also be having special one on one time with which ever child you are not having your time with.


I posted this and immediately realized that for my dd and sgd that they would value the special time with papa waaaayyyy more then the time with me.  I'm a given, he is a treat.

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#5 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 02:34 PM
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I have an 11yo DD (and a 5 yo DD) now and I was also a part of my DSD's life when she was a preteen. (she's 23 now, where does the time go?!?) I married DSD's father when she was 7 and I wanted to do something special with just her, so we had a weekly mani/pedi ritual for some girl time. As she got older, around 12 she became very interested in doing her own nails and nail art (etc.) so we started having our spa time at home. Such a special time! An extra bonus came with how much money we saved. 
Holding hands and just letting her talk and talk was so sweet. I learned so much about her life, her hopes and dreams during that hour we spent together. Our family is also big on news and politics so we've also had some very healthy debates during spa time! I continue the tradition with my daughters now and when DSD is home visiting she does her little sister's nails and it becomes special bonding time for them.  
The initial purchases did take a bit of money, but by comparison to doing this at a salon it was minimal. Choosing a special color together and adding it to our collection is always fun. Call me a sentimental sap but seeing that perfect pink that brings back memories of her first formal or the wild blue that reminds me of her first day on varsity cheer just melts my heart. 
The girls have never minded doing this together, so maybe it could become something both your girls will enjoy doing together. Or something special for just the two of you. This may not be feasible for your family's personality, but I think the concept will work.
Friday night date nights sound wonderful and you could continue them with a frugal approach. Here are just a few ideas/things my family does that may help you brainstorm.
smile.gifFinger foods and a movie at home in your jammies, for me, is far more fun than at the cinema. 
smile.gifA yoga DVD could be done at home and you could tailor it to her age and ability. I grew up in a very martial artsy family and teaching my little ones tai chi chuan has been so fun and has become a summertime activity around here.
smile.gifBaking and then take a walk down to your local fire department or police station and deliver the treats! (we do this from time to time, though we ride our bikes and its SO much fun and the children always learn something new with each visit)
smile.gifVolunteering would be wonderful and if you are dealing with a transportation issue you could take up knitting or crocheting together and make blankets for your local shelter or hospice! (we do this and shhh! don't tell his friends but my 14yo DS can knit a mean lap throw too when the mood strikes him!)
smile.gifAdopt an elderly/housebound person in your neighborhood. Visit, do light cleaning or shopping (see bikes below), take over some baked goods or perhaps learn a few baking or craft tips from the special person you are visiting. My older children have done this on their own through a program at our church. I think its so good for the younger generation to learn to respect and learn from their elders. My DSD's love of photography was sparked by one such wonderful gentleman that he visited all through high school.
smile.gifGet her involved! Have her scour the internet for something free/cheapies to do in your town on the internet and have her arrange what you will be doing together! 
smile.gifYou mentioned chores - let me give you an idea. This is how our family deals with them. We have two big charts up, with all the chores my hubby and I do around the house. I mean ALL of them, from grooming the kitties to changing filters to day to day dusting and dishes to weekly bill paying. This way the children see just what it takes to run a house. We have magnets with their names and they choose which chore they will help with during that particular month. (They are expected to keep their own rooms clean and pick up after themselves, so this is a secondary chore they do.) This way its their choice and they feel really good about helping Mom and Dad keep the home running smoothly. With each child and age it becomes a different type of teachable moment. Shopping is a bit different, it rotates from oldest to youngest on a weekly basis and its a real treat to get that alone time with each one of my babies. (We have 7 total - including my step children, now on their own and one on the way.)
smile.gifAlso if weather is not an issue, which right now it might be, investing in some bikes (if you don't have them already) may be a solution to the transportation issue. Then the library, parks and your whole town will open up to you.
smile.gifFinally how about just vegging out? As mommies our lives are hectic and you know what, so is the life of a tween! Grab a couple of magazines, light some good smelling candles, maybe make some cocoa and just hang out together. Planned activities are fun and all, but some of my sweetest moments with my children come from times like these.
Hugs mama, hug2.gif I hope some of this inspires you!
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#6 of 9 Old 01-30-2011, 03:05 PM
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She might be able to give you some ideas. For DD and I, we tend towards more 'girly' activities like shopping, but when we can't get out of the house we do each others nails and hair.

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#7 of 9 Old 01-31-2011, 12:10 AM
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Some things I did with DD, 14 y.o., this week: 


- walked her dog after school (we walk for about an hour every afternoon)

- made a stuffed animal from an old pair of socks (hand and machine sewed)

- reviewed notes for her exams

- "played" with SnapCircuits (she's doing physics/electricity next term, after exams are finished this week)

- studied lines from the play she's performing in the spring with her drama group

- cooked dinner

- washed dishes

- watched some Youtube videos

- watched t.v. 

- talked about the books she's reading right now


Today, we had afternoon tea (homemade cinnamon buns and a chai blend) and chatted a little. 


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#8 of 9 Old 02-04-2011, 08:37 AM
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It can be a challenge to devote 1-on-1 time when you have more than one child, regardless of the ages. I found sleepovers to be ideal opportunities to have time with just the other child. Whether the sleepover is at your house or your child goes elsewhere.


I take the opportunity (although my oldest is no longer home) for the two of us to have something for dinner, watch a movie, play a game that the other may not enjoy. Or, just hang out together. Sometimes, 1-on-1 time is just about being together, not doing something "special". The special comes from being together.

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#9 of 9 Old 02-11-2011, 08:41 AM
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I'm struggling with the same thing for my near 8 yo. Looking for free stuff - she'd love to have a mani-pedi weekly, but it's more like 2x a year for us (her B-day and mine.) She really likes it at this age when I'm IN the bathroom while she is taking a bath. I think I might be able to leverage this into "backrub night" or "at-home spa night," complete with candles. Unfortunately, mine is defnitely not the hike-in-the-woods kinda gal either. I put her hair in curlers which she really likes and gives us some time together. would some kind of spa night work for you guys? Where you do each other hair or nails? Or make some kind of facial masks  or sugar scrubs? There is a lot of into on-line about food-based spa treatments. All stuff you have at home. I think special fuzzy robes for spa night would be nice, too.


do you do any crafting or hobbies? A scrap night or knitting night could be nice. Even if you did it with other people, but just brought your one daughter.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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