A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of women in my neighborhood to talk about marriage and date night. We were joking around about how we always end our date nights out at the grocery store or Target. A lot of times it's to pick up a few things that we need for the weekend, but most of the time, we're looking to extend the time that we're away from home and ensure that our kids are in bed by the time we get home. I know that we're not the only ones who do this because on Friday and Saturday nights, the aisles are filled with couples carrying a basket, grabbing just a few things before they head home. That conversation inspired this post on my local date night blog and it also inspired the post that you're about to read.
I know that hiring a babysitter for date night can be expensive, and that those kid free date nights can be far and few between when you're on a budget. That date night time is precious and you want to use it in a way that benefits your relationship. Date night allows you to escape your responsibilities for a few hours and really enjoy your time together. While I'm not against kid free grocery shopping or errand running, and have done a bit of that myself, we really try to spend the majority of our babysitter nights doing something fun and memorable together. If you're at a loss of what you want to do on your next kid free night, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Enjoy a Leisurely Meal
We always throw a meal into our date night plans and we usually pick a restaurant that has a relaxed and romantic atmosphere, one that we know encourages a long dinner, or one that's new to us or that we've always wanted to try. Most of our meals at home are chaos with two busy toddlers and although they're enjoyable, we don't get to use that time to talk one-on-one with each other or even really enjoy the food that we're eating.
Enjoy a Family Activity, Kid Free
One of my favorite things we've done in our marriage was going on a Disneyland trip before we had kids. I look forward to experiencing Disney with our little ones, but I'm grateful that we took advantage of the opportunity and enjoyed the parks just the two of us. Make a list of activities that you would normally involve the entire family in and pick one two use for date night every once in a while. Visiting a local amusement park, going to the park, a movie in the park, etc. Don't feel guilty if you don't involve your kids in all of the really fun things that you know they'd love.
Plan a Late Night Adventure
From the time that we first started dating, my husband and I have always loved to go on late night walks together. Now that we have two kids who go to bed early, we still go on walks but they aren't as late at night and usually as a family. Those things that we feel like we can't enjoy anymore because it interferes with the kids' bedtime are perfect for date night. Sometimes we take our tennis shoes and pick someplace for a long walk together after dinner and our activity. Go to the drive-in movies, find a park to stargaze or enjoy a late movie showing.
Watch the Sunset
We love to find a scenic overlook and watch the sunset together. You could bring along your romantic playlist so that the two of you can slow dance together after the sun has gone down. Pack a picnic to enjoy eating while the sun goes down. Or stick around after and watch the stars come out.
Cross Something Off Your Bucket List
Every year, we create a date night bucket list of activities that we have always talked about trying or that we think would make a really fun date. I love to put them on the calendar throughout the year and get a babysitter so we can adventure together and cross things off our list.
When you have a babysitter at home with the kids, you are free to spend quality time together without potential interruptions and the distraction of the to do list that you have at home. Make the most of that time and use it to strengthen your marriage relationship. You don't have to do something grand and elaborate to make the most of date night, but being intentional with your time will make it count. Some nights we come home from our date and I find myself wishing I'd thought of doing something different or planned ahead better. This weekend's date night is a babysitter one and I'm determined to fill it with lots of fun, connection and quality time.