The last seven months have been different. And that’s putting it mildly.
Many of us have been trying to stay safe and therefore have been spending a lot of time at home – or outside during the nice weather.
Well, winter’s coming. The lazy days of summer are behind us for this year, and we’ll be complaining of cabin fever soon enough.
As parents, we have an even tougher time maintaining relationships and finding quiet time for ourselves while being at home with our children every day.
So how do you manage date nights or self care time while the kids are constantly around? Let’s explore some ideas:
What to do with the kids…
This is very age-dependant. My girls are old enough to not need constant supervision, and too old to go to bed early.
Related: Raising Girls: I have a tween!
If your kids are like mine, I would suggest simply explaining to them that you want some grown up time (date night time), and give them ideas of things to do. For us, it would be pjs and a movie, or ship them off to a fellow pod home for a sleepover. Heck, my girls would even play something online for a few hours if I let them. So for me, this isn’t a struggle.
But what if you have younger kids? How do you manage a date night then?
I know a babysitter may not be the right choice for you, but it is for some. Especially if you can find someone to “pod” with, that perhaps only babysits for you and doesn’t have a large circle elsewhere. This can be another adult, or a family member as well.
You can also take advantage of nice days and have a sitter come and watch your kiddo play outside while you and your spouse enjoy a lunch date or similar.
If you have a pod with other parents, try kid-sharing. You watch all the kids one evening, and swap out for your turn for a date night. Sleepovers not required.
The trick right now is thinking outside the box.
So now that we’ve occupied the kids – what kind of “date night” should we have?
Simple evenings could be a movie or Netflix marathon, with take out, or popcorn. Cook a meal together and enjoy it with your drink of choice. Eat together without the kids, and have a real conversation.
Break out the board games, or a deck of cards. Pull out old photo albums and reminisce about the “old days.” Or investigate a new hobby together.
Get outside for a walk or bike around your neighbourhood. Or go for a drive to watch the sun set. Take in a movie if you feel comfortable doing such a thing. Bonus points if you can go during the day while the kids are at school and you can avoid needing to find care for them!
Sit outside in the evening around your fire pit – again, without kids. Nothing wrecks the mood more than hearing “can we get the marshmallows now?” every five minutes.
Date nights don’t have to be overly planned, or too involved. Especially now when it’s harder to get away. Find simple things you enjoy together, and make the time to do them.
And – this might be an unpopular opinion – I actually don’t mind spending “date nights” with my girls. Their attention spans are long enough to play games or go for decent walks, and they can be pretty fun to be around.
Don’t get me wrong, a break from your kids is always needed, but including them sometimes will help enrich your life, and theirs, with shared experiences and memories to treasure.
How have you managed some date nights during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments!