Date night ideas for parents are few and far between whenever I’ve searched for them in the past. All the date night suggestions I see appear to be for carefree people with no responsibilities and plenty of disposable income. A spontaneous weekend in Paris is not really something I could muster these days. Aside from my finances not stretching, I don’t do spontaneity. Do you know how much planning goes into getting the kids out the door in the morning?
Date night ideas for parents: going out
First and foremost, you’re going to need to get a sitter. Not everyone has family who can step in, so I recommend using someone who has childcare experience, rather than a neighbour’s daughter/son. A professional babysitter probably sounds expensive, but they usually have really competitive babysitting rates. I’d rather pay for someone who is experienced and knows what to do in case of emergency, than get a cheap deal and spend the night worrying. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.
A grown-up meal
Never underestimate the joy of eating somewhere other than a ‘family friendly’ chain restaurant can bring. I think I’ve probably only eaten at a grown-up restaurant about twice since having my second and I really miss it. Child-free restaurant have a certain ambience that you just can’t recreate when children are around. If you want an evening where you feel like people instead of parents, then a grown-up meal needs to be on the cards.
A cinema trip
I sometimes forget the cinema is a place for adults too now that I’ve got kids. I won’t pretend I didn’t love every minute of the new Jumanji when I took my daughter recently, but you can’t beat a film that wasn’t created with children in mind. I’m not a massive fan of the super-scary variety, but I do love a bit of excitement or anything that makes you think. I don’t get to watch many things that are aimed at adults these days, so a chance to use my brain and try and figure out a plot always feels like a welcome break. The cinema also makes a great date for if you’re a bit wiped out from parenting but want to spend some (quality) non-talking time together.
Drinks and music
Seeing a band at a trendy bar and indulging in some tasty cocktails can feel like a breath of fresh air compared to the drudgery or everyday life. Obviously, I love my kids and enjoy caring for them, but after a day spent doing the washing in misshapen baggy clothes, I’m ready to glam up and make an effort. I think seeing each other looking their best can really make things feel fresh and new again, especially if most nights are spent in PJs in front of the telly.
Date night ideas for parents: staying in
For some people, the only option is to stay in. The trouble with staying in all the time is that when date night comes round, it doesn’t feel very special. There are some lovely things you can do in your own home while the kids are in bed, you just have to get a little inventive. Here are my suggestions:
Hire a hot tub
Hot tub hire is so much more affordable and available these days. I think you can get someone to come and set one up almost anywhere in the country now. The thing I like most about this is that there’s scope to surprise your other half. All you have to do is send them out for the afternoon while the hire company come and set it all up!
Indoor cinema night
This one requires a bit of effort and some access to a movie streaming service, but it can be done and it can be fun! You can get hold of projectors that plug in to your laptop quite cheaply these days, all you need is a plain white (or very light coloured) wall to project onto. You could even make a blanket fort to watch from and decorate it with fairy lights to make it extra pretty. Serve cinema food (like hot dogs and popcorn) to eat while you watch the film.
A takeaway and wine night
Not the most inventive, but the most popular for a reason. It’s probably the easiest and cheapest option available. Wait until the kids are asleep to order something delicious, then crack open the wine while you wait for that tell-tale car door slam outside (the universal signal parents who don’t want the doorbell to ring will listen for). Something as simple as not needing to cook can really take the stress out of an evening and make you appreciate one another’s company. I know that works for me!
What date night tips can you share for fellow parents? I’d love hear from you in the comments.