My husband and I have never had much money. We have always worked paycheck-to-paycheck with very little cushion, which means date nights are few and far between. When we lived near family, we would go out for his birthday, my birthday and our anniversary, because sitters were more easily available. Now that we live in Indiana, that is not the case and when money is tight, there is no sitter.
So, how can you make a point continue “dating your spouse” when you don’t have money or easy access to a free babysitter?
And is it worth it?
First of all, let me say that with a little creativity, you can easily put together a fun date night for you and your spouse. All it takes is a little forethought and planning on your part and a desire to spend time together.
Second, it is totally worth it! As the wife of a minister, our life is often crazy and unplanned simply because deaths happen and people need counseling at all hours. It isn’t often that we get to leave the house without any children and now that we have a little nursing one again, I rarely go anywhere without him. But that doesn’t mean we have to abandon date nights until the child is “detached,” it simply means we have to be a little more creative.
15 Fun and Easy Date Night Ideas for Parents of Young Children
- Pick up dinner on the way home and pick up a Redbox movie while you’re at it! If you sign up for their newsletter, you automatically get a free rental. You can also usually find coupon codes at Retailmenot.com and use them as you want. Find a movie or good series on Netflix. We have a few Netflix original series that we love to watch every now and then. These make for not only a relaxing evening, but a fun way to change things up a bit from the “normal” television viewing.
- Go out for a quick dinner. Make plans to go out to dinner and leave the kids at home, even if just for an hour. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to have fun, it is all about connecting. We live at least 15 minutes from town and anywhere to grab a bite, so we enjoy the drive and being able to talk with each other uninterrupted. Sometimes we just run in to town to pick up some food and come home, but it is a nice chance to get away and talk – even if only for a few minutes.
- Have a romantic dinner in. Put the kids to bed early one night and have dinner together. Set the table with your nice dishes or china, light some candles and enjoy the time together. Then you can watch a movie, play a game together or spend the rest of the evening in the bedroom.
- Cook dinner together. If you and your spouse both like to cook, making dinner together can be a fun and romantic evening for two. This is a fun night that you can do together, even if the kids are not asleep. A little flirting never hurt anyone!
- Texting. While not a date per se, there are some days I just need to escape from the chaos of kids, homeschooling, laundry and all that goes in to keeping the house together. In those times I either call or text my husband. Sometimes I just need some words of encouragement and hearing his voice puts me in a better mood – or at least gives me perspective. Texting your spouse throughout the day can be a great way to flirt and let him/her know you are thinking of them.
- Spend an evening outside. We have a small fire pit in our backyard and sometimes it is nice to just light a fire and sit outside on a nice night. But, whether you have a fire pit or not, spending and evening outside under the stars with your spouse can be fun and exciting. If you live away from town, you can sit and stare at the stars for hours. And if you don’t, a porch and some chairs will work just as well. Sometimes just a change of scenery from the inside of your house is all you need.
- Take a walk or a hike in nature. If you have an older child that could watch the other children for a little while, a walk is a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the house and kids running around.
- Take a day trip to a park and bring along a picnic. Taking the kids with you, isn’t always a bad thing. Simply go somewhere you can easily feed them and watch them play from one spot. This will give you time to sit and visit while the kids play after everyone has eaten. Plus, they can run off some of that energy.
- Plan a game night. Maybe you can’t put the kids to bed early, because if they’re like mine that means they will just wake up earlier. So have dinner together as a family and once the kids are in bed, play a game or two. We love card games, which are super easy to set up and put away when you’re done.
- Plan a Scavenger Hunt. A scavenger hunt can be a fun activity that involves the entire family, not just you and your spouse. If you have little ones that are usually in tow, take them along on a nature hike scavenger hunt. Or better yet, play boys against girls and make it a game. It gets everyone out of the house, wears the kids out and then you can spend some much needed quality time together after every one is in bed!
- Play a round of miniature golf. I used to love the nights we would go play mini golf as a family. Why not “be a kid again” for a night and go play a round of mini golf with your spouse! You will laugh, cry and have a great time together just being kids again.
- Plan a night away. I know it is difficult to get away for a few hours without your kids sometimes, but a little planning ahead and you can spend an evening away. Even if its just to a local hotel, the time away to reconnect, talk and just be together is a refreshment every couple needs.
- Go to a local museum. If you live near a museum, make plans to take a few hours to escape from the house and visit the newest exhibit or just to walk around and talk about what you see.
- Dance the night away. Now I know many people don’t like to dance, but I love to dance – especially with my husband. However, we don’t go to clubs where most dancing takes place, so we just dance at home. Turn off the television, or at least the shows, turn on some music and dance the night away in your own living room.
- Grab a strip from the date jar. I love this idea of creating a date jar and just grabbing an idea from it to make the evening fun and exciting. There is something so fun about the element of surprise, isn’t there?
I know it is easier said than done, but date nights are, I believe, an essential part of marriage. There have been times in our marriage when our schedules didn’t mesh for weeks on end and I felt like I was living alone. And we went through almost 8 years of opposite schedules, so I understand it can be hard, but it is most definitely necessary. It is necessary to keep the lines of communication open. It is necessary to stay connected with your spouse not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
What are your favorite inexpensive date night ideas?