I think most parents would agree that one of the hardest stages in life to make date night a priority is when you have new babies and really young kiddos at home. For us, this has definitely been the case, with our second baby more than our first though because she was so early and was really particular about who she’d let hold her. But I would also venture to say that the new parent stage is one of the most critical for date night. It can be so easy to lose your relationship in the midst of caring for your little one’s every need, being sleep deprived and adjusting to your new roles and the big life change that you just experienced.
My goal is to help every couple make their marriage a priority throughout every stage of life, even those early parenting days when it feels like you don’t even have a second to take care of yourself, let alone your marriage. Making our romantic relationship a priority is something that has helped us connect as a couple and be more intentional together in our parenting over the last few years. I hope that the date night ideas below will provide you with opportunities to connect and keep your relationship as husband and wife alive so that you don’t lose it to your roles as partners in parenting from the beginning.
For even more date ideas check out the Prioritizing Date Night e-book with over 300 date night ideas for couples in every stage of life and tips for making date night happen no matter what obstacles your quality time faces.
Date Night Ideas for New Parents
Take advantage of nap time
Our first baby had a really convenient habit of taking a 30-60 minute nap every night at dinnertime. This worked out really well in our favor and we definitely took advantage of it on date night! We’d head out to dinner and play with our little guy together while we waited for our food to arrive. Then he’d sit in his car seat and sleep next to us while we ate and enjoyed each other’s company. It wasn’t he same as a full night out alone, but it worked really well for the stage we were in and gave us opportunities to connect like we needed!
Maybe your little one doesn’t nap during dinner like ours did, but you can still take advantage of their naps for date nights, even if they’re 30 minutes or less. Go out for ice cream, grab dinner or take your food to a park and have a picnic while they sleep on the blanket next to you. A sleepy third wheel is the perfect companion to allow you to focus on each other and connecting as a couple, even if it’s just for a short while.
One of our favorite at home date nights has become cooking together! We love to grill together in particular but sometimes get creative in the kitchen with a pizza night or making one of our other favorite foods. We recently discovered a cookbook that was written just for date night and it’s our new favorite to cook from! You might decide to cook one of your favorite meals or try something new. Dinner might take a little longer to make if you have a new baby to care for, but it’s a fun activity and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor after it’s done.
Go for a walk
Getting out of the house and into the fresh air for a little physical activity was so good for my recovery after childbirth and helped my mental health as well. Walks have played a huge part in our relationship from the beginning and provide us with the opportunity to talk and enjoy one another’s company. It’s something we still do today. Putting your kiddo in the stroller and heading out on a trail or just around the neighborhood is the perfect low-key date night activity. For the tiny baby stage, having a car-seat that clicks into their stroller or wearing them in the carrier is a great idea!
Have date night in the other room
This idea came from talking to a few of my friends after they became parents. Quite a few of them were celebrating an anniversary or birthday within a few weeks of having their baby and wanted to be able to have a date night but didn’t feel like they could leave their new little one. Rather than going out, they grabbed their favorite takeout and enjoyed a date night at home. But so that they could focus on their date night and each other, they invited grandma or a trusted friend over to snuggle their newborn while they set up their candlelit dinner in the other room.
This allowed them to stay near their baby in case they needed to take care of a feeding or any inconsolable crying, but there was another adult there to give the baby the attention they needed so the couple could focus on each other and celebrating their special occasion. This could be put into use for any date night, especially if you have a parent staying with you and helping out postpartum. I guarantee nobody will turn down an invitation to cuddle your sweet little one!
Take a drive
Like a walk, taking a drive together is a great, low-key way to connect in your early days as parents, unless your baby hates being in their car-seat. Find a scenic drive near you, turn on your favorite love songs and chat while you enjoy the view. During the winter months, we love to drive around looking at Christmas lights. In the fall we drive through the canyon to see the changing colors of the leaves. Spring is a great time to seek out flowers or beautiful blossoms.
Get creative at home
Since becoming parents, we’ve come to really love at home date nights. We can be really creative after our little ones are in bed. I share at home date night ideas on the blog on a regular basis to encourage couples to make time for date night even if they aren’t able to get out together every week. Click here for all of our fun at home date night ideas!
Read a parenting book
I know a few couples who have a habit of reading books together and have even started their own marriage book club. The book club isn’t focused on reading books about marriage, it’s just a fun way for them to enjoy talking about the books that they both enjoy. Some will listen to audio books like Harry Potter, read books separately and plan a date night to discuss their thoughts on the book after they’re finished, or read a chapter or two together each night. This would be fun to do with any book, especially while one of you is feeding the baby, but with your new role, you could go the extra mile and read a book focused on parenting! Click here for a post that includes our favorite parenting books, including some that focus on keeping your marriage strong after baby arrives.
I know that date night with little ones can be a challenge, even when you’ve planned well. Kiddos get sick and feverish, teething and shots can make them irritable, and sometimes they just don’t want to go to bed like they usually do. Do your best to be intentional and your marriage relationship will benefit from your efforts! I remember one night after we had our preemie, we’d planned to eat popcorn and play Mario Kart on the couch after both kids were asleep. Our newborn was having none of that and I ended up playing video games with one hand and nursing her in the other arm for the entirety of our date. It was frustrating and I felt like our time together was wasted, but looking back I am grateful we made that effort and kept date night a habit, even if it didn’t always go as planned.