If you’re like me and don’t have family living close by, you won’t necessarily have the cash or opportunity to find a babysitter on a regular basis. But my personal philosophy is that date nights and quality time are really important in a marriage, especially during the early years when most of your time together is spent changing diapers, catching toddlers before they crayon on the walls, cleaning up spilled food and drink and making sure those little hands don’t smear it further into the couch. Hmm, romantic!
Many of us have done the date nights in the house with a movie or tv show when the kids are asleep. But here are my top five alternatives for some fun and different date nights – sans babysitter.
My all time favorite date night option. First, this requires really wearing the kids out during the day, and dressing them in their pj’s before you leave so that they will fall asleep during the drive to the theater. We have an SUV so we make up the back to be like a cozy bed with covers and pillows. We also bring our favorite snacks and drinks. Then while the kids sleep in their seats, we can snuggle and watch the movie in peace. Master the art of carrying them to their beds without waking them up and voila! Date night where you can almost forget the kids were there.
2. Dinner al fresco
This one may be better for the summer months, but a personal favorite of mine is to put the kids to bed, get take out from our favorite restaurant, and enjoy the meal and a glass of wine under the stars in our back yard (with baby monitor of course). I REALLY want to get a fire-pit soon so that we can do this in the colder months too.
3. Spa night
Instead of the usual movie or vegging in front of the tv, try taking a joint bubble bath together, with candles, and giving each other massages. I love the massage oils The Body Shop sells, they are really reasonably priced and you can select whichever of their fragrances you want to use as a scent.
Depending on your perspective, this may not be your idea of fun. However, I love to go camping by the beach. Bring pack and plays or camp beds for the kids, and once they’re asleep in the tent you can have a romantic night listening to the crash of the waves and roasting marshmallows by the fire. The added bonuses are 1) it’s inexpensive, 2) you’re not at home, so it really does feel more like a date, and 3) you can really tire the kids out with the excitement of the day so in my experience, they often fall asleep earlier
5. Game night
Here’s another twist on the at-home date night. Get all your favorite board games from childhood (for example, twister, game of life, sorry, ghost castle, clue, uno, etc). Then have fun with a retro game night and snacks. I always have a lot of fun talking with hubby while we play, it definitely beats watching our usual tv shows and not really communicating. Of course, if you want to spice things up, the games don’t necessarily have to be kid-friendly *ahem*. It is date night, after all!