I’ve done them both and I think I have the answer.
A couple of years ago (when I wasn’t pregnant) I gave my nieces the gift of an activity with me. This was in place of the toy or gift or gift card that they were asking for.
The activities were based upon what I thought each girl would like. Some of the time it was a broadway show at The Fox Theater. Another time I took one niece to a kids Painting With a Twist. From shows to art classes to aquariums and crocheting – I was willing to try it all.
It was a day and night (they all slept over as well) of non-stop niece action. It was incredibly valuable to not only them, but also myself. I learned so much more about them as individuals because it was one on one and not with their sisters.
What I learned:
- Although actual presents might be more fun to open, the anticipation of the “Auntie Date” far outweighs it.
- This is not only for the child. It’s for you and the parents of the child, too. Put the phone down and be ‘present’ to the child. They notice everything.
- Have a conversation with them during the date. Not just your ‘how’s school’ and such. Ask meaningful questions and you will be surprised at the answers you get back.
- Aim for a certain age. I have not done this with my youngest niece or nephew yet. I think it makes a little more sense to wait until they can remember it.
- Be a kid during the date. Do things that you might not usually do. Have fun and show that fun to the child (whether your own or not).
These dates have been priceless and I cannot wait to start doing them again when I am not so pregnant. This year birthday and Christmas gifts were just that – gifts. But I am hoping to bring this back again soon.
So when deciding what to get, try and think out of the box. Think of a somewhere – not a wrapped box. They will forever remember the memory of the event instead of what was wrapped inside a little box.