In the last year, my husband and I have tried to be really intentional about monthly one-on-one time with each of our daughters (now ages 6 and 3.5). I guess they noticed. My 6 year-old recently selected “one afternoon or evening each with you and Daddy” as the reward for a behavior/chore chart in progress.
When her little sister left town for a week with her grandparents, she knew she was in for that coveted trifecta of uninterrupted attention, abandonment of rules (read: bedtimes) and more grown up activities with each of her parents.
Our one-on-one time often involves eating out but I am always conscious of the message that sends. I don’t want my kids to view food as the default when it comes to special time spent together, celebrations and rewards – great insight on that common challenge in this past post on the unexpected benefits of having allergy kids.
For our big girl time, I thought my 6-going-on-16 gal would like one of my favorite girlfriend “getaways” – girls’ night in, with a spa twist. After all, competition was tough following her near-perfect pizza and pet store Daddy date night.
Tools of the Trade
Inspired by a favorite Fancy Nancy book (gifted by one of her, ahem MY, favorite friends), I looked for simple spa treatments we could concoct with staples stocked in our kitchen. Bingo – the internet is loaded with two-to-three ingredient recipes to literally try on.
We got into our robes and whipped up sugar scrub (1 tbsp of sugar partially dissolved in 3 tbsp of warm water) followed by a Greek yogurt and honey mask (1 cup Greek yogurt combined with 2 tbsp of runny/warmed honey), topped with spa-ssential cucumber rounds on our eyes.
It’s no secret that kids love to play with their food, so we used our silicone basting brushes to paint the masks on each other.
My girls are fond of making and enjoying many of these spa-themed foods: yogurt parfaits or smoothies, crudités with various dips, fruit kebabs, fruit or veggie-spiked water, the list goes on.
I learned that using the “spa” label is another positive way to talk about and help them choose more healthy foods. It is fun for them to request a spa breakfast or dinner, and they often help me brainstorm and prepare new menu items and food combinations.
To complete the spa experience, we flipped through some fashion magazines and watched a more grown up TV show (she chose Say Yes to the Dress) while I gave her a custom mani-pedi.
Tell me…what secrets do you have for making special times with your kids fun, positive and healthy?
This piece originally appeared on Smart Eating for Kids.