By Diane Spear, LCSW-R for YourTango.com.
Did you have an abundance of date night ideas early in your relationship? How about when you were newly married? As parents, what date night ideas do the two of you come up with these days? Do you even have a date night?
When my daughter, now a high school sophomore, was much younger, one of the topics among parents at the playground was date night. There were many couples who paid for sitters and spent their entire romantic evening either talking about what their son or daughter had done that day, or wondering what the child was doing at that moment with the babysitter.
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It’s great to catch up on the latest developmental milestone or cute phrase from your daughter or son, but that’s something that can be done after you’ve put the kids to bed. In hopes of stimulating your special time together, I offer the following date night ideas perfect for any parent:
1. The daytime date “night.” Contrary to the name of the article, make it a daytime date. During the day, you may be more awake and alert so you can actually enjoy each other’s company. Many parents find that after a workday filled with responsibilities and pressure or a weekend that’s packed with activities, they are too exhausted to enjoy each other’s company. They sit across the table from each other and struggle to stay awake.
2. Get nostalgic. Do something together that you enjoyed doing when you first met. It could be bowling, seeing a play or going to hear your favorite group. Doing an activity that’s a “blast from the past” can help you reconnect.
Date night ideas three, four and five are ways to incorporate sex in to your plans. It’s much more difficult to have a spontaneous sex life when there are little feet pattering around, so as unromantic as this may sound making plans to end your evening with a little romance makes the date that much more enjoyable.
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3. Role reversal. Instead of going out to dinner and a movie with your spouse, send your child and the sitter out to dinner and a movie. You and your spouse stay home and make full use of three hours of glorious privacy.
4. Book a cheap motel room. We’re not talking about leaving the kids with a sitter overnight, just three or four hours of hotel/motel bliss. This could be a little costly but look for hotel/motel deals and grab one. Even in a major city, you may be able to find a last-minute deal for a romantic interlude. Here’s how to make the most of this date idea without further bank account damage. Take a picnic basket with chilled champagne, fruit, a cheese plate and some fancy chocolate. Bring some scented massage oil and use your imagination!
5. Phone a friend. For a less expensive alternative of the previous date night idea, ask friends who are going out of town if you may use their home or apartment as your “hotel room” for the night. Bring your sheets and towels and leave a bottle of champagne as a thank you, along with an offer to return the favor when you’re out of town.
6. Double date. Make it a double date with the parents of your child’s friend. If the kids are old enough for the sitter-to-child ratio to work, pool your resources and let the kids have a play date while the adults have a double date. You get the enjoyment of remembering how much fun your spouse is when you see him or her interact with others outside of the rut that the two of you may have fallen into.
7. Be original. Try an activity the two of you have never done. Maybe that’s taking a cooking class, a dancing lesson or a visiting a ceramics make-it-yourself studio. Doing something new forces you to connect in a new way.
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Having a weekly date night can be a little expensive. In New York City, sitters can charge between $15 and $20 an hour with a three hour minimum. Date night ideas eight, nine and ten are creative ways to help make date nights possible while saving a little money.
8. Set up a babysitting cooperative. Tom and Patty live in a New York City high-rise and saw another couple, Rosa and Dan, who had a daughter about the same age as theirs. They arranged play dates with the kids and helped them establish a friendship. Once they saw that their parenting philosophies were similar they worked out a deal to babysit each other’s girls on alternate weekends. Every Saturday night the girls had a standing play date while the two couples had alternating Saturday date nights.
9. The work-week daytime date. Skip the babysitter and go on a date while your child is still in school. If you know you have personal days or sick days left at work, use them and explore your city. Go to your favorite restaurant at lunch when the menu is usually cheaper or hit a museum or gallery. Enjoy playing hooky with your spouse.
10. Skip out early. Get a sitter and go to an evening PTA meeting together. That’s not the romantic part. Leave the meeting a little early before the crowd of parents and tack on a romantic dinner together before you head home to relieve the sitter.
This is not an exhaustive list of date night ideas for parents, but I hope it provides a starting point for some creative ideas of your own.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 10 Date Night Ideas For Exhausted Parents.