When was the last time you had a date night? If you’re laughing so hard right now you’re wondering if you’ll pee your pants, you’re in good company. In one recent survey by Care.com, 85 percent of parents said they wished they had more date nights. A third of parents even confessed they haven’t been out with their partner in more than six months (that’s half a year, y’all!). With the holidays speeding toward us like the Polar Express, shelling out for a babysitter might not be in the cards. And that could be good news. No really—hear us out. An increasing number of studies show that kids learn healthy relationships by watching how their parents relate to one another. So it only stands to reason that kids could learn a little something good about dating by tagging along on your date night! But how can date night be an actual date night with the kids screaming “Ewwww!” every time you give your partner a peck on the lips? Let’s dive in, shall we?
Grab a blanket, load up a star guide on your phone (Night Sky is free for iOS and Android), and head outdoors to help the kids find the Big Dipper. An evening of stargazing means cuddling under a blanket for the parents (and sneaking kisses in the dark without the kids noticing!) while your kids learn about the night sky. Hand over the star map, and let them lead the way.
Pick a movie series or theme with a ton of options or let the whole family vote. Pop the popcorn, flip off the lights, and get ready to cuddle on the couch with your honey with your favorite people all around you. If you have younger kids especially, family bonding will make way for couple time as the kids give in to exhaustion. Stay up to watch the last movie…or move to the bedroom. It’s up to you.
Test Drive a Car
No, you don’t have to buy a new car. You just have to express interest in buying it. Swear the kids to secrecy (or better yet, don’t let them in on the game until later), and hit a dealership for some adventure. The kids will have fun testing out all the backseat gadgets while you get to hold hands in the front. Bonus: an adventure to talk about for weeks (or even months).
Hit the town bowling alley and ask for separate lanes! While the kids battle each other (and enjoy the benefit of gutter guards), you can challenge your partner to see who’s the best bowler. Remember to stock your pocket with quarters if your kids are old enough so you can let them play a few games in the arcade while you get quality time with your SO.
Let’s face it: Even the frozen pizza you threw in the toaster oven and popped on paper plates is romantic when there are candles. Tell Alexa to play some of the crooners, ask the kids to turn off the light switch, and get ready to make googly eyes at your honey while the kids giggle in the semi-darkness..
Grab a Groupon for the local fun center and prepare to partner with your date in a battle against the kids. While you’re whispering strategy in a corner, your kids will be trying to take you out. Leave no man (or woman) behind.
Volunteer as a Family
The family that volunteers together doesn’t just stick together. They raise kind, generous kids who give back to their community together. Ask the volunteer coordinator for jobs that the kids can do without you hovering, and you might even score some semi-alone time with your partner doing something that will make you both feel good. (Hey now, you know what we mean, you dirty mind!).