It’s no secret that I love doing things with my kids. That’s the foundation of this entire blog! But today I’m talking about getting back to where it all started: you and your significant other. But what do you do when date night rolls around and you don’t have anyone to watch the kids? Can dates be a family affair? I’m here to help you out with 12 ways you can go on a date without leaving the kids behind.
I am ALL for getting a babysitter. I have absolutely nothing against a good night out without kids. Everyone needs a date every now and then to keep relationships strong. Plus, enterprising young babysitters need money to pay for gas and to save up for college. But getting a babysitter for a night out is a lot of work!
First you have to find a sitter you trust. Then you have to hope they’re available. Then you have to figure out what the going rate is for babysitters these days (hint: it's WAY higher than it was when I was babysitting). For the record, I believe in overpaying babysitters. In college I got paid $10/hr to drive a delivery truck. I figure taking care of children is a much more important job that requires even more responsibility and deserves at least as much compensation. Also, I feel like when I pay well the babysitter is more likely to be available and willing next time I call.
Which brings me to the next point … going out is expensive! If you want to go out to have a decent meal and then go see a movie, by the time you pay for those activities and then also pay the babysitter fairly, you are likely going to spend at least $100.
For those reasons, my husband and I have become pretty good at finding ways to have dates without getting a babysitter. Basically it comes down to either staying home or taking the kids with you.
Dates at Home
The obvious first solution for a date without a babysitter is to stay home. Here are some dates you can have at home after the kids are in bed:
Each of you choose a fancy (or not-so-fancy) dessert recipe to try your hand at. Get busy in the kitchen and then taste test your creations to determines who wins the title of master chef.
Buy a new puzzle to work on together. Pro tip: start the puzzle on a piece of cardboard or a whiteboard or something similar so you can slide it under the couch or put it up on top of the fridge if you don’t finish in one night.
To prepare for the date, hit up Pinterest and find something that looks fun to make. When we have done this in the past we chose a décor craft we wanted to hang in our home. We purchased supplies ahead of time and then spent an evening working on a project together.
Exactly what it sounds like and something I’ve always wanted to try. Make it a contest with one watermelon each, or work together to sculpt your masterpiece. Get some inspiration here.
Take turns being blindfolded and attempting to identify different tastes. You could use different sodas, other drinks, flavors of candies, ice creams or chocolates. Who has the more discerning palette?
Charcoal masks, sugar scrubs and a steamy tub make for a fun stay-at-home date night. If you want to go all out, splurge on matching robes.
When was the last time you played a card game or a board game together? Get our your favorites and get a little competitive. Recommended: skip Monopoly if the goal of your date is to still like each other at the end of the night.
Learn something new
Cooking classes or those paint and sip experiences are popular date nights and the existence of YouTube means you can have a class right in your own home. Get the paint supplies or ingredients beforehand, choose a video that looks good to you and enjoy trying something new together.
It may seem like a stretch, but we’ve had good success making some of these stay-at-home dates into double dates, too. We frequently get together with friends for a game night and take the kids with us. We put them to bed in an extra room or on the couch. If you have friends without kids or friends who have a babysitter, why not invite them over to join you for your bake-off or taste testing? (Probably keep spa night to just yourselves, though…)
Take the Kids With You
If you still want to get “out” on your date and don’t have a babysitter, that means you’ll be taking the kids with you. Hear me out. It can still be a date even if it’s not just the two of you.
Go to the gym
If you are a member at a gym with childcare, make a date out of working out. Try a new class together or let your partner lead you in their workout routine.
IKEA is wonderful for a lot of reasons. Some of those reasons are free childcare and delicious food. There you have it. The perfect date. Children who are potty trained and between 37” and 54” can be dropped off in the play area for one hour while you enjoy some shopping or Swedish meatballs and cheesecake in the café. See this link for hours.
Chick Fil A
Enjoy some waffle fries, a lemonade and adult conversation while the kids play inside the glass enclosure.
Go for a walk
Put the kids in the stroller, preferably after bedtime so they’ll fall asleep, and walk around the neighborhood. Our double stroller reclines way back and the canopy nearly completely covers them, so they can go to bed for the night in the stroller while we enjoy some time together.
There you have it, 12 ways to still go on a date without the hassle and expense of finding a babysitter. I still think it’s nice to get a sitter every once in a while for the luxury of a night out without kids, but these alternative date ideas can keep you going on dates more regularly.