Kids, Meet My Date

When it’s time to introduce your kids to the great person you’ve been dating, are you drawing a blank on what to do? Read on for some great ideas!

By Christine Coppa

ou’re a fabulous single parent, and you’ve been seriously dating a real catch. It’s time for the next step. No, not jetting off to Aruba for a long weekend. We’re talking about introducing your child to your love interest. Fend off tantrums and sulky faces by getting creative and making the meeting less about you two and more about the child(ren). Step away from the sexy underwear and Merlot, and give our kid-approved dates a go!

Book It
A bookstore is a great date place for couples, and especially for ones with kids
Think your kid might be too shy to talk to your main squeeze?
from four to eight years old. Most children’s sections are in a wide-open, airy, carpeted space and are dotted with child-sized seating and even interactive train tables. Encourage your child to pick out a few books. Grab your date and situate yourselves on the floor in a semicircle, sitting cross-legged so you’re all on the same level. Think your kid might be too shy to talk to your main squeeze? Think again: Children love to talk about the things they love. So, go on, ask her why she chose that princess book or what the dinosaur is going to eat for dinner. Before long, she’ll be asking your date what his favorite color is. Score points by planning your trip around a scheduled story time.

Game On
Think your tween is too cool to hang out with you and your new love interest? Well, you’re probably right. To the rescue: An arcade—yep, you’re just a few dollars in quarters away from the perfect date. Have a Skee-Ball competition or duel it out over an old-school game of Pac-Man. Your tween will be at ease in the casual, noisy environment instead of awkward and bored stiff at a candlelit table for three in a fancy restaurant.
Let your child whisk the eggs while your honey sets the table…
Arcades like Dave & Buster’s are great for kids and adults, with kid-approved eats (like hot wings and mozzarella sticks) as well as a full-service bar. Want to save your quarters and stimulate your home economy instead? Pull out the Wii, pop in RockBand 2 and let your kid show you how it’s done!

Art Appreciation
A museum is an excellent choice if you have an infant in tow. Why? Well, most babies sleep, eat, poop—and sleep some more. Trust me: J.D. (my son) and I celebrated my 27th birthday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when he was just three-and-a-half months old. Pack up your diaper bag and head to a local gallery. Walk side-by-side while your little one snoozes peacefully in her stroller. If you time your trip properly, I bet you can see at least two hours’ worth of art before the baby wakes up to eat. Speaking of—is that crying I hear? Not to worry. Babies love bright colors and black-and-white imagery. They’re stimulating and inviting, so swing by the modern-art wing and hold your little one up to a wild canvas while you and your date discuss the meaning behind it all.

Let’s Eat!
If you’re thinking of making the kid-date introductions over dinner, skip the hoopla of a fancy gourmet meal and do something unexpected, like having breakfast for dinner. Children literally eat this kind of thing up. What kid wouldn’t love a big plate of chocolate-chip pancakes with a side of whipped cream? Not one I can think of. And since the prep is easy, invite everyone into the kitchen. Let your child whisk the eggs while your honey sets the table—there’s plenty of room in the kitchen this time.

Cookie Tasting
Adults love civilized dates that include the likes of a wine-and-cheese tasting, right? Right! Well, think about it: What do kids like to taste? If you’re thinking something sugary sweet, you know where I’m going with this. Hit up the local bakery with your date and kids. Buy a dozen different kinds of cookies. When you get back home, whip up some hot cocoa and display the cookies on a fancy platter. Bite by bite, sip by sip, ask your child to describe what he tastes, and talk about which flavors each of you likes best. Get into the game by describing, say, the “explosive” rainbow sprinkles or the “pucker-up” strawberry jam, and put on your best food-critic face as you declare: “Combined with the flavor of this hot cocoa, the vanilla in this cookie really pops!”

Christine Coppa is a single mom who lives in northern New Jersey. Her book Rattled! comes out in April. To read more from Christine, visit her blog, Storked!
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