Remember that time, when you were young and starry-eyed with new love, and Valentine’s Day was a time to fully express your affections with a dazzling evening out and big gestures of romance? Those special moments may have helped lead you to a deeper love, which might have turned into an elaborate proposal and finally a beautiful wedding. And if that sequence of events ALSO lead you to having children join your life together, then you KNOW that all of that romantic “stuff” has probably gone out the window (along with all of your free time and discretionary spending budget!)
Yeah, I have been there. I am coming out the other side though, with my kids growing up very quickly, and two out of 3 pretty much launched into adulthood. So I can tell you for sure, you do get your time back. BUT, don’t wait until then to keep connecting as a couple, whether it be Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or a weekly date night.
Since time and money can be an obstacle to keeping the flames burning, here are some ideas for romantic “dates” that you can enjoy at home. All it takes is some planning, some creativity, and an attitude of acceptance; accepting where you are right now in your family life cycle, accepting that you and your partner still need to look after your romance, and being creative about how to do just that during a busy time in your life.
The biggest obstacle to your plans will be the kids themselves. Sorta hard to get all lovey when they are clamoring for your attention. Finding a babysitter is not always possible or easy. If the kids are older, either send them off to a friends for a sleepover or to a family member if they are available. OR just this once, let them watch some TV in their room on a laptop or tablet, with the deal that they don’t disturb your date (kiss each other A LOT. Believe me, once they see THAT gross business, they will only come out to talk to you if the house is on fire or something). Let them ‘break the rules’ a bit so this can be THEIR special night activity. You will get more cooperation and buy in if they get a special relaxing of the rules and routine.
If they are still very little, plan to put them to bed a bit early. It may mess with their schedule temporarily, but this is an important evening and the trade off is worth it once in a while.
5 At Home Date Night Ideas That Don’t Require a Babysitter:
- Dining with Class – With a little team work, you can create the atmosphere of a romantic restaurant, complete with candle light and a special dinner that you don’t make as often now that chicken nuggets are a prominent item on your daily menu. Use your best dishes, your prettiest tablecloths and play some romantic mood music. Alternative ideas meal, depending on the time of year, include: backyard picnics (complete with a blanket and basket), finger foods/appetizers and desserts only, or breakfast in bed. Breakfast can be date night as well – why not? It’s your date!
- Game Night – Jenja, Backgammon, Scrabble, Chess, Boggle – lots of fun two player games are available and you can have a friendly competition. Make some bets and offer up some “romantic” stakes. You will BOTH win that way (nudge, wink, wink). Pull out your favourite snacks, put on some upbeat tunes and get ready to play.
- Movie night – Create a marathon night. I recommend Star Wars 4-6 (not 1-3. Never 1-3!), Lord of the Rings, or maybe do an evening of movie classics. Can’t agree on the films? Each pick one movie and agree to gladly watch both movies (even if you hate rom coms or anime). Cuddle up on the sofa with snacks, dole out the foot rubs and enjoy some great films.
- Get Silly Night – Have a nerf gun fight, do some karoke, play “would you rather” or “truth, dare, double dare” (okay, that one could get interesting ha!). Be a kid and make a fort out of blankets and eat junk food. If your kids are home during this date, you might be hard pressed to keep them away from the action. This one is best if you managed to get someone to let them sleepover (‘Hello, Grandma?”). Capture some of the silly fun you had in your early dating days with this date night idea.
- Cooking Class – learn a new cooking skill together. Here are three I want to learn: homemade donuts, Dim Sum (I even bought some steamers to make these foods in), and any one of the over 10 MILLION ideas I have pinned on my pinterest food boards (there are a lot of them).
As a BIG idea for once a month, combine a bunch of these ideas and go all out cultural – choose a country to explore from home. Italy? China? India? Plan your menu, music, movies and games around which ever place you dream of visiting and explore. Take photos and share your “trip” when you get home. No “trip” is complete without some photos to go along with it. Better yet, start a photo album for ALL of your trips. Travel to a different “country” every month and you will have a wonderful keepsake at the end of your year of dates.
So you see, even if time and budgets are a bit tight since children came into your life, you can STILL have a ton of fun and romance together, with a bit of creativeness and a positive attitude.
Trust me, someday thee children will be all grown up, moved out and on with their lives. You guys are still there, together. Stay connected until then, so you can easily make the transition to REAL date nights and REAL trips around the world (at least, that is my intention).
From your Things Engraved Social Team,