Life is busy, and finding the time, energy, and money to date our spouses often just seems like one more task to add to the jam-packed weekly calendar. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us know in the pits of our stomachs how important alone time with our forever mate is. We just need a little motivation! So, let’s bust the myths behind the excuses and find the absolute best night ideas for parents.
Date your spouse with Adventures From Scratch!
Here at Adventures From Scratch, we’re passionate about an adventure that deepens bonds and makes you smile! That’s why we created our Adventures From Scratch: Date Edition. We teamed up with relationship experts and crafted a resource that is sure to spice up your dating life!
Fifty hidden challenges, conversation starters, connection builders, and tear-out love notes make this book so much more than a list of curated dates. With categories like “Discover,” “Play,” “Create,” and “Double Dates,” there is a date for every week of the year and you can just pick and choose based on your time commitment and mood. Surprise your love with Adventures From Scratch in their stocking this year!
We’re doing fine without a weekly date night.
Did you know that relationship experts across the board practically beg married couples to spend time one-on-one? This isn’t so new hypothesis either. In 2012, the National Marriage Project produced a study with overwhelming results. In correlation with the University of Virginia, their comprehensive study of married couples showed a direct correlation between regular date nights and sexual satisfaction, perceived communication health, overall marital happiness, and divorce rate. The numbers have spoken!
Common Myths to Bust
#1. I don’t have time.
When you first look at the calendar chalked full of soccer practices, school plays, and work projects, it can seem impossible to find a full night to spend with your spouse. It’s important to prioritize your life events. When we say “we don’t have time,” we are saying, “I can’t give that priority right now over these other things.” If that feels icky to say about your marriage and alone time with your spouse, then it’s time to do something about it.
Alone time with your spouse doesn’t have to be a full Saturday night out. You can set aside a few minutes in your bedroom each day for undistracted communication. Or slip out for a long walk around the block to get some fresh air together. You could grab lunch together on your break from work. You could turn off Netflix and play chess or a card game together instead. Get creative. There is always time for the person you have pledged to spend the rest of your days with.
#2. We don’t need a date night.
Retreat to the numbers section above! Seriously though, even if you feel like you and your partner are on great terms, they may need something different than you do. Also, parenting sneaks up on you. Well-meaning parents give all their time and energy to the children we have been given to raise, and in this deed, we often lose parts of ourselves and our other important relationships. Your relationship with your spouse came before your children, and hopefully, it will endure long after your children have grown and moved out. Keeping a firm foundation of communication, a healthy sex life, and a united front not only makes it easier to survive parenting but easier to survive marriage in general!
#3. Date nights are too expensive.
By the time you add up a babysitter, dinner for two somewhere nice, and an activity, dates can break the bank for sure! No worries though, we are about to load you up with budget tips and fun date night ideas that you can do from home, for cheap, or even for free!
#4. I’m too tired.
Oh, man! Yeah, this whole parenting thing is exhausting. Add on a job, extracurriculars, and housework, and it quickly becomes too much. If your household is anything like ours though, one of us suggests a date. We plan, and then we decide we are too tired. We don’t go. Then, we regret not going and know that we missed out, and start the whole process over again. It’s a vicious cycle. You know it’s important. Make the jump! Sometimes a fun night out with your honey is invigorating and perks you up, rather than exhausting you further.
#5. I feel guilty leaving my kids.
You made those kids out of love (hopefully) for your spouse. Those kids exist because of your relationship. Their mental health and perceived safety rely heavily on the strength of their marriage. Google this-“do kids feel safer when parents prioritize their marriage” and see what you find. Multiple research studies show that children feel more secure in a home where mom and dad are on the same page, connected, and even when they show more attention to their marriage than they do to the children. Sometimes, the truth is that we pour all our attention and affection into our children because our marriage is missing something, and rather than deal with those issues, we turn to our kids, to their detriment, and ours.
#6. I can’t find a sitter that I trust.
Legitimate. Take your time. Interview a hundred Care.com sitters if you need to, but most couples do better to leave the kiddos with someone they know, a trusted friend or family. Rather than feeling guilty about “dumping your kids” on family or friends, consider it a time for your kids to bond with the important people in their lives, outside our you two. You could also take advantage of “Parent’s day/night out” options at your local daycare, community center, or church. You could also share a sitter with a trusted friend who has vetted them before. Perhaps you go out on a double date and share a sitter.
#7. We don’t know what we want to do.
So true! Can’t even count the number of times we have canceled date night because we couldn’t agree on anything to do, or nothing sounded fun. A great date for parents should have a few elements. It should be something you’ll both enjoy. A good date should provide for uninterrupted conversation. It should fit into your weekly date budget, and at least occasionally, it should be something outside of your normal dinner and movie theater date. From stay-at-home dates to outdoor adventure days, we have gathered all the best dates for busy parents. Let’s get to it!
At-Home Date Night Ideas for Parents
While dating at home might not sound very exciting, it can be effective with proper planning. Watching separate screens in the same room does not a date make! When having an at-home date night, set the scene. Turn off all screens. Get dressed and freshen up a bit. When was the last time you shaved your legs?
Plan it for when the children are in bed, at school, at an event, or when you can get childcare. The point is uninterrupted quality time. Turn on a playlist that you love. Light some candles or buy fresh flowers. Whatever it’s that you need to do to transform yourself and the space into something that feels romantic, then do it.
1. Let’s Roam Indoor Couples Scavenger Hunt
For a truly creative evening with a little friendly competition, snag an In-Home Couples Scavenger Hunt from Let’s Roam. These hunts are filled with hilarious challenges, conversation starters, and tons of fun. They usually take about an hour and can be done after the kids go to bed. You can deepen your bond, get in a good laugh, and fall in love all over again without leaving your living room.
2. Online Cooking Class
Head for the kitchen. Put your apron over your birthday suit and get ready to whip up a feast! Cozymeal features interactive online cooking classes with world-class chefs. You’ll eat a 5-star meal, made with your own hands, and never even have to make a reservation. If you choose a fully interactive class, you may want to wear pants!
3. Game Night With a Twist
You can turn up the volume on almost any board game in your pantry with a little creativity. Strip poker is an old favorite, but it’s easy to spice up everything from Twister to video games. Whether you use stripping for losing or sexual favors for winning, the games you have in your closet can take on a whole new life. Plus, next time your whip out the Yahtzee to play with your kids, a few sexy sideglances and a rematch are likely to ensue. It’s the date that keeps on giving.
4. A Backyard Picnic
Forget movie night, let’s shake things up! Throw out a blanket. Turn on the baby monitor. Order your favorite takeout. Pop a bottle of wine. After dinner, lie on your back or climb to the roof for stargazing. It’s a romantic date night that doesn’t cost anything and gives you plenty of quality time for conversation. If your yard is fenced in, you could check off that outdoor-loving bucket list item!
5. Murder Mystery Night
If you or your significant other is a sucker for a crime novel or Netflix series, then order one of the date night boxes from Hunt A Killer. They are part murder mystery, part board game, and they have a huge selection of cases, so if you love it, you could make it a regular thing!
6. Couples Massage
Sure, you could just set up and trade massages with your spouse, but if you want a good massage, check out a company like Soothe. They will send a certified massage therapist to your home to rub out all those tired and stressed muscles. They don’t service all areas, so if your address doesn’t show up, then consider calling around local massage therapists. Many of them do house calls on the side!
7. An Evening Stroll
Spending time with your spouse is always worth it, even if you only have a few minutes. If your children are older, put them to bed. Write a note in case they wake up. Set the alarm, and strap on your tennis shoes. Explore your neighborhood. With the range of some of the new baby monitors, you could probably explore your whole hood and still be able to see your babes on your phone. It takes no planning. It’s a great way to work on communication. There’s no need to worry about babysitting. You get to clear your mind in nature. It’s perfect!
8. Alcohol and Art
For a cheap and fun activity, raid your kids’ art closet and have a DIY painting and wine date. These shops have popped up all over the country and charge a fee for learning to paint a planned piece. They usually provide some instruction, but so does Bob Ross. You could either turn on a painting tutorial or just wing it! If you have sent the kids to grandma’s, you could even roll out a canvas or large paper roll and try your hands (or other parts) at body painting!
Are you more of a singer? You could always swap out the paint and wine for ice cream and karaoke!
9. Wine and Cheese Please
Get fancy with a DIY wine and cheese tasting. Grab a few bottles of affordable wine. Pick out several kinds of cheese that you have never tried, and find your new favorites!
10. At-Home Workout
Seen all those acro yoga couples on Instagram? Well, we don’t recommend you break a hip, but working out together can be a fun way to clear your head, get some endorphins pumping, and enjoy a little physical contact. Swap out the barbells for activities that involve using your own weight and your partners.
Double or Group Date Ideas
Sometimes it’s nice just to have adult time with friends. Double dates are great for parents, especially stay-at-home parents because you get adult interaction! A bonus is that you can share a babysitter between the two couples, saving some dough! The best group dates involve a little competition and a good environment for chatting!
It sounds cliche, but it’s cheap, provides a little competition, and it’s fun!
12. Escape Room
For a little thrill, take your best buds and see how you fare at your local escape room. Follow it up with a stroll around the local park with ice cream or a beer in your favorite pub.
13. Drive-In Movie
Drive-ins are coming back, and we love it! Pile in the swagger wagon, or spend your evening on the tailgate with good friends and good snacks.
14. Hiking in State Park
Getting out into nature is a good idea for us all! Whether you prefer hiking, horseback riding, or a canoeing adventure, spend some time in the great outdoors on an action-packed double date. This one will depend on what your area offers, but you could consider a day at the lake. Rent a pontoon boat for the day, or go water skiing. You could go rock climbing, hit the slopes, or just play horseshoes in the park. The options are limitless.
15. Let’s Roam City Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are even more fun with friends! Let’s Roam has scavenger hunts for almost every major U.S. city and many international ones. We have bar crawls, ghost hunts, Urban art walks, and historic and cultural hunts, so there is something for everyone! All our scavenger hunts are expertly curated to include local trivia, inventive photo and video challenges, and even city-wide competitions. Find a city near you!
Free or Cheap Date Ideas for Parents
To score cheap dates, sign up for the newsletters for museums, art galleries, and theatres in your area. Monitor Groupon for coupons on date activities, and keep an eye on your community website.
16. Moments in the Museums
Many museums are free or have free nights. Plan your dates around the free nights. Museums are quiet, provide plenty of interesting conversation starters, and are usually lovely buildings that create a nice atmosphere.
17. Stroll the Botanical Gardens
There’s nothing more romantic than a hand-in-hand stroll through the tulips. Even better, if it’s free.
18. Lunch on the Beach
Pack some sandwiches and escape while the kiddos are at daycare. Spend 30 minutes or an hour walking along the waves and enjoying each other’s company.
19. Coffee Break
If you can drop the kids off early, steal away for a quick coffee date in the morning before work.
20. Luxury Window Shopping
You don’t need to buy anything. Just pick a pedestrian zone with beautiful boutiques and shop windows.
21. Thrift Store Shopping
There is nothing funnier than reliving your past fashion faux pas, or your parent’s, in your local thrift store. Try on the clothes. Snap photos. It’s good for a laugh, and your kids will like the photos.
22. DIY Project
There is always something around the home that needs to be done. While the kiddos are at day camp or a birthday party, take the time you have to create something together!
23. First Date Again
If you were young when you started dating, your first date likely wasn’t a splurge. Recreate it down to the last detail you can remember. It will church up old memories, and probably old butterflies too!
24. Skinny Dipping
If you live in a rural area, there is likely a rock quarry or swimming hole where you can get naked! Heck, use your pool if the kids aren’t home. Maybe there is a clothing-optional beach near you. Go for it!
25. Sporty Fun
Minor league and local community teams usually have very cheap tickets or season passes. Attend a high school football game, a minor league baseball game, or a college hockey match.
26. Community Connections
Your community is likely up to something. Maybe there is a farmer’s market, a county fair, or something going on in the city park. Take your love and join in!
27. Trivia Night
Trivia nights can be a cheap and fun option because you don’t need to buy a meal. They are usually later in the evening, and you can just purchase a beer and play away.
28. A Lunch Quickie
If you both get a decent lunch break, then plan to meet at home or in a cheap hotel for a lunch with perks!
30. Desserts Only
To save money on your dates, but still get the restaurant experience, eat something quick at home, and then head to your favorite restaurant for wine and dessert.
Just Do The Dang Thing
There you have it! Thirty simple dates for parents. Call the sitter. Text your friends for a double, or start making a romantic spot in your own house. Whichever of these 30 dates you choose, we guarantee you won’t regret time well spent with your boo. Have fun!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you only have a few minutes, you can still date your spouse! Enjoy a morning coffee date, take an evening stroll around the neighborhood, or spent time stargazing after the kids go to bed.