Date night or marriage counseling?
It’s up to you.
Although by the time couples get to the point of needing marriage counseling, 38% will get divorced.
We don’t want that for you, so date night it is (plus its much cheaper than counseling!).
But, how do you make date night happen when you have kids?
It’s not as difficult as you think and I’m going to walk you through the whole process.
I’ve even done some homework for you and have come up with creative date night ideas for parents. So be sure to check that out!
How to Make Date Night Happen when you Have Kids
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Making Date Night Happen
If you wanted to, you could come up with every excuse in the book for not having time for date night. But the truth is, date night is an absolute necessity. So it’s time to change your mindset and make it a priority.
Schedule Your Date
Pick a day of the week to always be your standing date night. You’ll always have something to look forward to and you’re not left trying to fit date night into your hectic schedule.
The weekend may seem like the obvious choice but it’s also the busiest time and when prices are at their highest. Going with a weekday like Wednesday may eliminate scheduling conflicts. Just pick a day when your family usually doesn’t have other obligations and declare it date night!
Of course this may not work for everyone so an alternative is to schedule your dates in advance with a scheduling app. This way you and your significant other will always be on the same page and you can avoid overbooking.
Personally, I love this app. It’s great for syncing schedules and communicating changes.
There’s no hard rule for how often date night should happen. But studies have shown that it needs to happen consistently. Maybe you can’t commit to once a week, plan for once a month instead.
You can still schedule it ahead of time and even make it fall on the same day each month. This way it’s easy to remember!
Make Date Night a Line Item in your Budget
Once you add up the cost of childcare, your activity, and transportation, date night can become quite expensive. So what can you do?
You can budget for your dates.
Determine the going rate for babysitting (typically $16.75/hr for one child and $19.26/hr for two), and the cost of a typical outing and add that as a monthly bill.
You can put money aside each payday into bank like this. When you find spare change or that random dollar in a pocket when you’re during laundry, add that to the date night bank too!
Your dates themselves don’t have to break the bank. The goal is to spend quality time together. You can find a list of inexpensive date night ideas here.
Further down, I’m also going to provide you with tips to cut the cost of childcare.
Use a Date Night Planner
Let’s face it, you’re a busy person juggling work, mom life, and your relationship. When do you have time to sit down and plan for a date?
Chances are you don’t.
That’s where a Date Night Planner is very beneficial.
It’s basically a recipe book and to-do list combined. Know what planning needs to take place (childcare, reservations, etc) and the little extras you can include to make your date that much more special.
Now you don’t have to feel overwhelmed or wonder what to do on date night. The planner will break everything down and give you a visual of where you are in the process.
What to do with the Kids
This is by far the easiest and least expensive way to have childcare. And, it’s a win-win for all parties.
Your parents will enjoy spending time with the kids, your kids will enjoy getting spoiled, and you get to leave your children with someone you really trust.
Don’t forget about your other family members. Think about your siblings, aunts and uncles, and even cousins. Who can say no to an evening of fun with the kids?
My parents live 90 minutes away so it’s not always possible for them to help with my daughter. Fortunately I have a cousin who lives nearby and she helps me out often. My daughter loves spending time with her so I never feel guilty when I leave her behind.
Not everyone has family around. Don’t worry though, you can still find quality child care that you can trust.
Chances are you are not the only person in your social circle that has a child. Why not trade babysitting duties with one of your mom friends?
Create a schedule where you alternate child care duties. The 1st Saturday of the month could be when you watch her kids so that her and her husband can have alone time. The 3rd Saturday of the month she returns the favor. I think you get the idea.
This is helpful because your kids will have someone else to play with and once again you’re leaving your child with someone you know and are comfortable with.
Don’t count your friends without kids out. They too may be very open to helping you. I’ve found this to especially be the case for friends who were preparing to start their own families. They are eager to see what it’s like and your baby will love being the center of attention.
Start a Babysitting Co-op
Have you made friends with any of the other moms at daycare? What about moms in other activities your child is in? You could form a small group of 3-5 other moms and trade babysitting once a month.
With a group of 5, each mom would be obligated 1 weekend every 5 weeks. Yes, this does mean she’d be watching all of the kids but hopefully Dad will help out too.
Determine ahead of time how long date nights will be so everyone can be on the same page. Typically 4 hours is a good rule of thumb.
It’s up to you all to decide if the kids will be watched at home or if the babysitting will happen in the other mom’s home. I’ve seen it where the mom who is watching the kids goes to that family’s home while her significant other stays home with their kids.
If you’re watching kids in your home, have them bring their sleeping bags. This way if they fall asleep they will have a place to lay down.
The great thing about this is that you really have the flexibility to make this what you want. Just make sure everything is written down for everyone to see. Have a schedule, with set guidelines and house rules.
Here is a more detailed explanation on creating a formal babysitting co-op.
Utilize Parent’s Night Out
Some places like your local gym, YMCA, and designated kid spots have what’s called parent’s night out. These are specific nights set aside for parents to bring their kids in for a night of fun.
You may even find that your daycare provides this service.
There are locations like Bounce U, that offer Parent’s Night Out weekly while centers like the YMCA offer it a couple of times a month.
I love the YMCA because their staff is well trained and equipped to take care of kids of all ages. As a matter of fact, you can start using them for date nights as soon as your baby turns 12 weeks old!
The older kids enjoy going too and even look forward to it. They do a great job of keeping the kids engaged and entertained.
Oh, and you don’t have to be a YMCA member to use these services. You typically get 4 hours between 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm to enjoy alone time with your husband. It’s also very affordable. $12 for a member and $18 for non-members.
Hire a Regular Sitter
It’s scary thinking about leaving your child with a stranger. Luckily companies like Care.com make the process both safe and easy.
You can be as specific or vague as you feel when conducting your search. With care.com you can filter results based on years of experience, CPR certifications, and if they do light housekeeping just to name a few. Then, based off of your zip code they begin to show you recommendations. You do have to create an account with them to get to this point though.
How to hire a sitter using Care.com
- Post your request at least two weeks in advance
- Only use caregivers who have verified information
- Request a background check (the caregivers pays for it)
- Conduct interviews in a public place
- Request references
- Be upfront about your expectations and your needs
- Create a list of 3-5 sitters you feel comfortable with (this becomes your roster)
- Don’t forget to use them 🙂
Most kids love their daycare teachers. Think about it, outside of their parents who do they spend the largest amount of their time with?
Yes, their daycare provider!
The majority of the teachers love having an opportunity to make extra money. Obviously you already feel comfortable with them or you wouldn’t leave your baby in their care in the first place.
The good news is your child is already very comfortable with them and they know your child extremely well.
That lowers the anxiety levels for all involved.
My daughter loves her teacher so much. She asks about her over the weekend and is always ready to see her on Monday morning.
Naturally when I need a sitter and family isn’t available, that’s my go to person!
Work a Half Day
Take advantage of the childcare services you are already paying for and take a half day with your husband.
No one said a date has to happen at night!
Whenever daycare is open and you have time off, use part of the time to reconnect with your spouse. You can still pick the kids up early if the time away makes you feel guilty.
Take Advantage of Bedtime
Let’s face it, there will be times when finding childcare is just not possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t make date night happen.
Take advantage of the time after the kids go to sleep and have an at home date.
Use monitoring systems to keep an eye on the kids and enjoy yourself.
Times like this is when having a bedtime routine become very helpful.
When you become a mother, especially a working mother, your priorities change. Often times you put your kids, your career, and even the dog before your significant other. It’s not fair to either of you to put your relationship on the bottom of the totem pole.
Did Someone Say Date Night?
Now it’s time to start having date nights! Grab your date night planner and get to work.
No more excuses because now you know how to make date night happen with kids!
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