Can’t find or afford a trusted babysitter? Stay at home and start the date once the kids are in bed. Let’s be honest, once children enter the picture your wallet and your relationship takes a hit. With a little planning and creativity, stay-at-home date nights can be just as fun and romantic as an evening out, and less expensive.
The busyness of life and children make it seem impossible to nurture your relationship. Taking some time together, no matter how little it may be, will keep a regular connection between you and your partner. These date night ideas will allow you both a much-needed break filled with fun and romance. Try to commit to one date night a week.
Put it on the calendar. Schedule your stay-at-home date like a real date and stick to it. Plan the day accordingly to ensure the kids get tucked in by bedtime.
Treat each date as if it’s the first. All focus and attention is toward each other and nothing else. Turn off smart phones, tablets and computers. No texts, no emails, no work. No cleaning or housework whatsoever. If you must cleanup after dinner, then you both must do it together.
For Movie/TV Buffs:
Make any show a real treat. Pop popcorn and indulge in your favorite candy.
Order a movie straight from cable or through subscriptions like “Netflix” or “Hulu.”
Find a TV or cable series you both are interested in and watch from episode one.
Pre-record a program throughout the week and save it to watch together.
A Special Dinner:
Pick a region of the world and create a menu and evening around it. Enjoy authentic Italian food, indulge in a glass of wine, play traditional Italian music, and watch "Under the Tuscan Sun" or "Moonstruck."
Change the scenery. Go to a party store and decorate the dining room into a private island or magical castle. Pick an old prom theme and have fun with it.
Set a fancy table, light candles and dress up.
Throw a blanket down and set up a carpet picnic in the living room.
Select a new dinner recipe and cook it together.
The Great Outdoors:
Camp out for a few hours in the backyard. Pitch a tent, start a fire and roast marshmallows.
Have a candlelit dinner on the patio or balcony.
Order your favorite take-out and have a picnic.
Short and Sweet:
Create a new cocktail together and sip the night away.
Sample savory appetizers.
Indulge in a decadent dessert.
Imagine yourself in a café. Brew some coffee, grab a sweet treat and chat away.
Set up your own private cheese and wine tasting.
For the Gamers:
Watch a sporting event on TV and eat stadium food.
Hook up the Wii or Xbox and play a friendly game of golf, soccer or bowling.
Begin an ongoing card or board game. Play for prizes or house chores.
Challenge each other with a jigsaw or crossword puzzle.
Movers and Shakers:
Take a free dance lesson or exercise to a fitness video on YouTube.
Set up a circuit in the living room, backyard or garage.
If you have cardio equipment, work out together and encourage each other.
Have fun and burn calories with an exercise app. Try the 30 Day Fitness Challenge available in the App Store.
Get on the same page. Catch up and find out how each other are doing.
Compliment each other. Thank each other for at least three things they do.
Share an old dating memory.
Share your dreams and goals.
Invest in a box of “Table Topics." Pick a few cards and learn new things about each other. (“What do you think is the hardest part about being a kid and being a parent?”)
Plan a trip—a weekend or day away, or your next date.
All relationships need tender loving care. Schedule some time, make a date and enjoy each other. Stay-at-home date nights will take practice and discipline, but it will definitely keep the relationship healthy and keep more money in your wallet.
Katie Mohr Chingirian is a stay-at-home mom to a two-year-old daughter. These fun ideas have reconnected Katie and her husband during the biggest transition of their life.