The fear of many couples is that once they have children all their date nights and fun are forever gone. While planning and coordinating date nights will take a little more effort, it’s entirely possible to have a robust date schedule even when your kids are toddlers.
Planning a date night may come with some adjustments but even having an hour or two of adult time can help you feel refreshed and ready to be engaged more with your children.
Get Dressed Up
Going on dates doesn’t mean you have to dress in black tie. But changing out of your normal everyday attire into something special does make date nights feel more exciting. If you’re typically in jeans and t-shirts all day, this may mean changing into a nicer shirt, spraying on some Cool Water cologne, and brushing your teeth.
There’s something about having a special date night scent and quick getting ready habits that can make it more appealing for you both. Getting dressed up can take as little as five minutes, but it does elevate your date nights.
Plan Your Date Night In
Having toddlers means one very important thing. It means that your kids likely have a precise bedtime and routine that if not followed can mean emotional meltdowns and more. If you want to avoid this potential, plan a date night in. Pick up a special dinner to-go on the way home and rent a movie. Plan a board game or break open a wine cooler once the kids are in bed. You can still enjoy each other’s company after your children are sleeping. Just make sure you don’t do chores or other household activities during your date time.
Plan a Day-Date
Another great option when you have toddlers is to skip the nighttime dates altogether. There are often drop-in childcare facilities open during the day so you can get a couple of hours of adult hangout time. Find a new coffee shop to try out, pick out a hike somewhere local, or visit an art gallery. Day dates offer a lot more options than you can find in the evenings. Plus, you can go places like painting your own pottery or take a cooking class or learn something new together. You may also be more likely to find friends or family who can watch your kids during the day versus in the evening.
When you have toddlers, hiring a babysitter can eat away your entire date night budget. Some babysitters make good money. This means you need to be willing to shell out $15 or more per hour in some places. When you swap childcare with another friend, you can save that money for your date night. Watch their kids once a month for no charge when they watch yours once a month for no charge. This is a great way to ensure you get a night out at least monthly.
Take Your Kids on Your Adventures
Stop lamenting that you can’t go anywhere with kids. The good news is that toddlers don’t have school schedules to worry about and they are portable. You can take them all over the place and enjoy some incredible family adventures. Bring them along for hikes. Take them on ski weekends away. Bring them to the beach. Your trips and adventures get better as parents because you get to make memories together. While having adult time only is great, you can teach young children to enjoy things like art, music, and culture by bringing them with you whenever possible.
Have Dinner Out and a Movie In
Some kids have very strict schedules and it’s okay to keep that. If you want to have a quiet dinner, but bedtime is 7 p.m., then get a sitter and go out to eat early.
Date nights with toddlers can still happen. Depending on your budget, you may need to get creative about getting a sitter, where you go, and how you spend your time. No matter what, make sure you take time to enjoy each other.