My daughter and I used to spend so much time together. It was just the two of us for the first couple years of her life, and we were always off on the go. Even after our family grew and my husband entered the picture, Ayva and I would still get up bright and early on Saturday mornings for bagels, shopping, and some other adventure.
Ayva was just about to turn 8 when Jamie was born, and suddenly, our girl time had a new addition. Because Jamie was breastfed, he came everywhere with us. I’d strap him on in a carrier and Ayva and I wouldn’t miss a step. Of course, things were different. Now, instead of being carefree and spontaneous, we had to plan our fun around Jamie’s diaper changes and naps.
My girl was a trooper and the best big sister about the whole thing, and never complained. Even still, I know that it’s important that she and I have quality time together as mom and daughter. As Jamie got older and started pulling more attention during our outings, I started to look for opportunities to hang out one-on-one with my little girl.
We do the regular movie dates and dinner and things, but I wanted something more substantial. I wanted the chance to really keep connecting and building a relationship with Ayva. As she gets older, having that bond between us is going to be really important, so I’m working on it now.
If you’re looking to connect with your daughter on a deeper level through quality time, here are some ideas you may not have considered:
Volunteer with her activities
This was my year of yes when it comes to Ayva. I said yes to being the co-leader of her Girl Scouts troop, to coaching her volleyball team, and to being one of the volunteers for her class. In addition to the time we spend in the meetings and doing the activities, the travel time is meaningful. We have great conversations, listen to audio books together, and get to know each other better.
Go on a girl’s trip
Ayva and I are currently planning a girl’s trip staycation. We’re going away overnight and going to explore a new city without our fellas. She is so excited to have me all to herself, and it makes her feel special that she gets to have me all to herself. I have to say, I’m pretty pumped to have her to myself, too!
Learn something new together
If there’s an activity that you’ve been wanting to try, why not grab your girl and y’all do it together? Ayva and I love to try new recipes or crafts. Even if they don’t come out right, it’s fun to learn how to do something different together. Succeeding, or failing, together helps to build a great bond.
Volunteering to help other folks is not only a wonderful way to spend time with your daughter, it also helps to model what it means to be a good person. Ayva and I have done several service projects. Working on them gives me a chance to let her lead me, and we both feel good when we’re done.
Complete a devotional or journal
Ayva and I have been journaling together for a few years. While it’s not physical time spent together, mentally we’re focused on the same project and it helps us to get to know each other better. The same goes for devotionals. I love reading the lesson and scripture with my girl, and then using the questions as conversation starters.
As little girls grow into young women, it can seem like they start to move away from the mom/daughter relationship that so many of us love. It doesn’t have to be that way. Quality time spent together now lets our daughters know that we cherish them. It allows them to see us outside of the just “in the house mom” and solidifies the bond.
I don’t like thinking about Ayva going away to college, or going off and doing her own thing, but I know it’s inevitable. Until then, I’m taking all of the time I can get with her to connect, have fun, and bond with my little girl.