5 Tips on Having a Successful Date Night In When You Have Young Children
Never have time to go out? No babysitter? Too tired? Tight budget? If you answered yes to any other those questions, it doesn't mean you have to completely forgo 'date night'. In fact, my husband and I did this the other weekend. What did we do? We had a 'Date Night In'. Believe me, it’s not as grand as a night on the town, but it is the undivided attention and change in routine that makes it special.
Planning the perfect date night in really doesn’t take very much extra effort – so why don’t more people take advantage of date nights at home? The ideal perfect date night will vary from couple to couple, but prior to planning it both parties need to understand that it’s a date and should be treated like any other out of the house date. The phone rings? Don’t answer it. Your spouse is talking? Listen to them and don’t just nod your head. Honestly the only thing that should distract you is if your kids unexpectedly wake up – and hopefully they won’t.
Here are some tips that you should incorporate to make your date night in a success:
1. Make the kids a "special" dinner. This doesn't have to be fancy! Just something kid friendly since you won't be eating dinner with them. My husband and I still sit with them at the table, and I usually make us some grown up appetizers so that we still have that family time together that we strive to have for dinner, while allowing the kids to have a fun meal.
2. Get the kids to bed at a decent hour, and the date begins! Decide ahead of time if you will both be preparing the meal, or if one will surprise the other with evening’s cuisine. Sometimes my husband and I like to browse through recipes and pick one together we have never tackled. Our last date night, my husband did the cooking and made two delicious bacon wrapped fillet minions - which are actually fairly inexpensive ($4-$6 a piece) compared to what you would pay in a restaurant. Whatever it is you decide to have for dinner, make sure it’s special and not something you eat frequently. Changing things up will make the evening more memorable.
3. Set the mood. Without too much effort, try and change the 'feel' of your house - so it doesn't 'feel' like your house! What makes those fabulous restaurants so....fabulous? (Besides the delicious cocktails and friendly servers?) The atmosphere. Lighting, music; it really does make a difference. Dim the lights, light some candles, break out your tablecloth, set the table with your nice china and turn on your favorite relaxing tunes. (I still adore Sinatra) Pour some wine while dinner is being made, or make a signature drink for the evening.
4. Dress up. Or at least get out of those sweats! Look like you are going on a date. Show your spouse that you care by taking the time to look presentable, and take date night in seriously. You will feel more confident about yourself too. Why not even take a couple of photos together like you would as if you were going out? Make your date at home as fun as you can!
5. Conversation. Changing up your conversation has to be one of your priorities for the evening. This has to be different from your routine topics. It may be hard not to be thinking about what just happened when you put the kids to bed or who did what at work today, but since you are having a date at home it’s imperative to get creative with your topics so your minds can venture away from the counters that need cleaning or the laundry that needs to go in the dryer. If you are really having a hard time thinking of things to talk about there are lots of conversation starter games that you can purchase – or seriously just Google conversation starters or dinner topic ideas if you need to. It may sound hokey - but just go with it and give it a shot.
We all love our children, but often times our marriage gets placed on the back burner while they are growing up, and there needs to be time and effort from both parties to continue to build a solid foundation. I encourage you to have a special date night with your spouse even if it is just one night out of the week that you have a dinner alone. Try it. You might like it. :)