3 Ways to Have “Best Days” with Your Kid’s
Five years ago, thanks to one of my mentors, I was taught the technique of “Best Days” with your kid. Now, I know this may sound pretty self-explanatory, and it’s true, it is about having a great day with your kids but it’s WAY more powerful than that. This technique and practice has become a staple in our family and the kids ask about it all the time now.
Here’s the vision: You are intentional with each child, one at a time. The reason for this is that it removes competition and fighting over the wish list. You sit with one child and say the following: “Next week Dad(or Mom) is going to spend the day with you.” They will probably will roll their eyes at you or say, “great”. Then you give them this: “You get to pick everything for the day: Where we eat, where we go and what we do.”
Your child might faint or start laughing thinking your kidding. This is where it gets interesting…
They will then ask permission such as, “Is it ok if we?…” Your answer is, “Yes.” Yes to everything.
The only no’s are: TV, Video games, Movies or devices.
However, the “Yes” category does include: Flying to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower or waterfalls in Hawaii. (this just will require time to plan, save and book). However, the answer is yes and it will happen.
What I am offering is a local day experience that your child will have permission to go and do whatever they want. Ours mostly include Disneyland and the aquarium. This will be different depending on the season and age of your child. Here’s where it gets good: This keeps happening as they grow into adulthood. Imagine being the parent of a 28 year old and saying, “I want to take you out for the day and let you eat wherever you want and we are going to go anywhere you want.” It’s a life and game changer!
One of the best one’s Griffin and I had was when we took an hour flight to San Francisco to stay at a hotel, go to her favorite spots to eat, visit friends, and places. Ice skating was on our list and what great memories we have from that trip. I remember how much fun it was picking out our rental car.
Here are things that help make it a great memory and reality:
1. Plan and book. When they see and hear you put it on the family calendar and in your phone they will freak out. I try to do 1 of these days per quarter with each one of my kids. The afterglow of these days sustain through the following months. Summer is a great way to do an exercise of this.
2. They get to have and go wherever they want. That’s right, even if it means getting on a plane to France. You might have to save for it but make it happen. This means any food they want until they’re sick. Don’t worry, this takes care of itself…. after their 3rd churro they want to hurl.
3. Keep your mouth shut- This is about THEM, not you. They have to know that they have FULL permission to dream, choose, and live in fun for this day. So, when they say, “I want to start my day with French toast sticks, churros for lunch, and burgers for dinner… with a shake”, you take a slow breath and answer, “You got it!”
The payoff? Your kids are so used to being ridden like Sea Biscuit that they get to experience you for a day without the words “no”. You, as a parent, learn what it means to serve them. Truly serve them. You’ll be surprised how much they default to wanting to please you by not asking for what they know isn’t normal such as three churros and riding the roller coaster three times in a row. They light up with permission.
This exercise has taught me an incredible value. The amazing truth is this: God looks at us in the same manner. As adults we assume these days are gone. What would it be like if you took yourself out and had a day of fun such as going to Disneyland, a museum, the movies, a trip, or whatever? When was the last time you had “me” time or a date with yourself and permission to have and do anything you want? If you’re like me you’d spend time saying “you can’t eat that” or “don’t spend money on yourself.” I get so wrapped up in responsibility that I overshadow or crush the spirit of the child in me. God adores us the same as we do our kids. Think about how much you love your kids. Now multiply that by a few million. That’s how much YOU ARE LOVED and beloved.
I have to remind myself to lighten up, take a breath, smile, leave the world behind, and set off into adventure even if for a couple of hours. A bike ride, a walk, permission to give yourself something you normally would say no to. Make it a step of faith and challenge as a fun experiment not just with you but also your kids.
As for me, I learned the technique of artist creative dates: I intentionally take myself out on a date to have intentional creative inspiration. Could be a bookstore, music, design studio for interior design, showrooms, my favorite furniture stores, art galleries, restaurant etc. When I go to places to eat and galleries it isn’t for art and food. It’s to observe how they are running the business. I love studying the architecture of brands and what makes special experiences for people. Best days are free days of the soul.
I’m hoping that these 3 ways to best days with your kids pay off in the currency of trust, memories, and connection.
What excites you when you think about the possibilities? What do you think your kids might pick? Where would you like to take yourself to replenish? Please let me and others know by leaving a comment below and share this post with your friends.
This sketch from The Kid in Me “Best Days” is available on a first come first serve basis below.