When I was little, I'd love watching my mum get dressed to go out for dinner.
I’d sit on the toilet seat watching her put on make-up, thoroughly delighted by how pretty she looked and the attention I was getting.
I don’t remember what we talked about, but I clearly remember how happy and relaxed she was in those really connected moments together.
Those memories were the first thing to come to mind as I read this excellent list of mummy and daughter date ideas, from blogger Kelly of Happy You, Happy Family.
According to Kelly, the mother-daughter relationship is one of the strongest in our life experience - and can impact everything from happiness levels to life expectancy. And the earlier we look to create times of a “spontaneous dose of healthy connection” with our daughters, the more satisfying and positive this relationship will be.
Check out a new book celebrating incredible Aussie women on Kinderling Conversation:
No pressure of course …
Building a strong connection doesn’t have to be complicated or even time-consuming activity. Kelly says on some days her daughters just need a cuddle or a story, on others she knows they need a bit more of her one-on-one time.
The most important things is paying attention to their needs, and responding to them.
Kelly writes, “Sometimes I’ve made the mistake of ignoring or pushing off these pleas for connection, and I always regret it later. But more power struggles and less cooperation don’t exactly make for a happy family. So I’ve learned to pay close attention to my daughters when they show me or tell me they need one-on-one time."
How do you find your mum and daughter “thing”?
There are no rules for this kind of stuff, but if you’re stuck, Kelly's blog post has some great ideas.
We particularly loved these:
- Take turns taking photos of each other. Odds are that as the mum, you’re the one behind the camera most of the time so there aren’t many family photos of you. So your daughter may appreciate the honour of capturing some rare snapshots of you. You can dress up if you want, or keep it simple. Feel free to be as silly as you want!
- Talk in the dark. When you put her to bed, turn out the lights and snuggle in bed with her. Ask questions and listen. Here’s one of our favourites: “When did you feel most loved today?”
- Let your daughter decide what to do. Give her twenty dollars (or ten, or whatever your budget is) and tell her she can decide how you’ll spend your time together. She may decide to spend it all on candy, but research shows that kids are happier when they have a say in how they spend their time.
If they don't float your boat, what about some of these real-life suggestions from our Kinderling mums:
4. "After daycare, during their bath times, we go through the photos that the daycare send and chat through their day. And when it's Mummy's time for a shower, they usually sit on the floor and ask me a billion questions - probably getting me back. LOL!"
5. "We go on 'bear hunts' - just walking around the block and finding things, or around the house finding things to climb over, crawl under, etc."
6. "Mum used to sit me up on the kitchen counter and we would bake together with lots of "taste testing" and spoon licking. I do this with my girls now and it brings back such happy memories. Although I'm baking from a packet!"
7. "My mum plays music with us. Probably why we all did music lessons, but my sister and I do it together now too, when mum isn't there."
8. "We go to the movies or go shopping. Turns out we're a cliche! But we also paint together. And we are currently working on remembering all 54 countries in Africa. Next step is learning where they are on a map!"
9. "I like to walk for fitness, but I walk much faster than she can keep up with and I REALLY like to jam in the headphones and ignore the world for an hour! But sometimes, she wants to join me, so I walk slower, ditch the headphones, and it's always a sweet way to have some girl-to-girl time together."
Whatever you choose, just know it’ll never go to waste. After all, you’re creating one of the most important relationships of your life.
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