Having children means, pretty frequently, that it is hard to find alone time with your spouse. Especially around Valentine’s, it only makes sense to pine for the long nights out that cemented your romance before kids. While sometimes silly, the following Valentine’s Date ideas give you some ways to turn the ordinary into a nice break, reminding you of what you like about each other and giving you a chance to catch up on who you are in between diaper changing and soccer practices.
The Brunch Date, for the Sleep Deprived.
It can be hard to stay out for a dinner and movie date when you get woken up repeatedly all night, so opt for a brunch date. Many of the nicer restaurants have a Saturday and Sunday brunch menu; find one with reservations and hire a sitter for the hours you’ll need. Order as much food as you can manage, listen to some nice Sunday morning jazz, and sip on a mimosa or two; if you have extra time before the sitter needs to be relieved, you can go get the grocery shopping done quickly without little people asking for everything. This is sure to kindle romance.
Have a Romantic Picnic at an Indoor Jungle Gym.
Visiting a jungle gym at a fast food restaurant or an indoor playplace for kids like a trampoline park is the highlight of your kids’ month. So why not bring your own picnic or order when you get there, bring a picnic blanket, and enjoy each other’s company while your children tear around in the brightly colored plastic tunnels and bound into the ball pit? Wine is probably not an option, but you can always cheers with your juice boxes.
Take Advantage of Preschool/School and Do Lunch Together Near Work.
Getting a sitter is costly and evenings often arrive to find parents already too tired for a dinner date, so take advantage of time that your children will be at preschool or school anyway and take a lunch break together. If you can swing it, make is a 2 hour lunch to get away and not worry about the time; it’s well worth eating at your desk for a few days that week just to get some great adult conversation at a restaurant without a kids menu.
Arrange a “Kid Swap” evening with another set of parents to get a night out.
Want to do something nice for your friends who are also parents? Offer to do a kid swap evening: one night, you and your spouse take all the kids, yours and theirs, while they go out to dinner. Your kids get a playdate, and you were going to be occupied with them during that time anyway. Then, on another night, your kids can visit your friends’ home while you all get a night out with no babysitter needed. A great way to make date night a little cheaper this Valentine’s.
Make a Fancy, Non-Kid-Friendly Dinner for Each Other.
It’s so much easier to let the family diet revolve around what the kids enjoy eating, but with a little planning, you can make each other a nice home-cooked meal that doesn’t have anything to do with the kids. The night before, make a double batch of your children’s favorite dinner, and let them know that they get to have it the following night as well - you’ll get cheers! Then, make something fun and fancy that kids don’t usually go for - a nice salmon fillet, or a mushroom risotto, for instance - and savor every bite while they eat their macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. If you cannot get away for the evening, at least eat like you are out on the town. If the kids run off to play, after all, you might even have a bit of time to linger over some sorbet or a piece of cheesecake.
Bundle Up for a Snowy Walk Together.
Valentine’s falls at a pretty dreary time of year, so if you happen to get some free time and a snow-covered night, add a snowy walk to your date. Sure, dinner or movies are typical, but when you are on a walk, you are more likely to notice and appreciate things that are beautiful about your lives together, and the scenery will be improved by a quiet covering of snow. You’ll notice how much cuter you each look when not just focused on feeding, bathing, and clothing the children, and instead are framed by a hat and scarf.
After Bedtime, make a parents-only cocktail.
Come up with your own perfect combination for a fancy drink and make it a Valentine’s luxury if you cannot actually go out for the evening. Once the kids are down for the night, mix them up, serve them in the fanciest, most breakable glassware you can find, and unwind a little. Even if you end up snoozing on the couch while watching re-runs after only a few sips, it’s fun to make an occasion out of the day to appreciate each other’s hard work.