Coordinating child care, schedules and reservations can leave you drained before your date's even started. These low-key date night ideas are perfect for tired parents who need to reconnect.
At the end of a long week, lounging on the couch sounds a lot better than dinner and a movie. After coming up with date night ideas, making reservations, hiring a babysitter and getting yourself ready, you'd rather hop into bed than head to the car. However, date nights and time spent together are instrumental for a healthy and happy marriage. Dr. Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family therapist, explains, "Making time for your marriage will help it to remain strong and to blossom and grow."
Here are eight fun date night ideas to help tired parents start reconnecting:
1) Hit up the Local Coffee Shop
Need some help perking up? Start with coffee. Coffee shops offer a quiet place to focus on your significant other without being interrupted by waiters or rushed out when the check is delivered. Grab a cup of joe, snag a comfy chair and catch up with your spouse.
2) Get a Couples Massage
Dates nights don't always have to be about the conversation. Book an appointment for a candle-lit massage for two at a spa so you can both zone out for a bit -- you may even get in a quick nap. You'll leave the appointment relaxed and ready to be more patient for the rest of your week. Give yourself a few minutes at the end of your appointment so you can sit together in your calm state before going home for the night.
3) Go See a Movie
Is there a new movie coming out that you guys are dying to see? Post a date night job to find and lock down a great babysitter ahead of time so you can get out of the house for a few hours. Just make sure you read up on Fandango reviews beforehand to make sure the movie isn't a snoozer.
4) Have an At-Home Date
Take advantage of your little one's early bedtime and have a date at home. Lee Reyes-Fournier, a marriage and family therapist, says, "Send yourselves to bed with dinner and a bottle of wine once or twice a week." Take time to prepare a nice meal together and set the scene by lighting candles or playing relaxing music.
5) Go out for Breakfast
Who says your date has to be at night? Start your weekend with brunch while the kids are at a playdate. Planning morning outings is a good strategy if you find yourself wiped out by dinner -- you'll be well-rested since you just woke up and will still have time to tackle your to-do list later.
6) Recreate Your First Date
Rekindle those first-kiss butterflies and go back to where it all started. Even if you've moved far away from where you first dated, you can eat the same meal, watch the same movie or listen to the same song that brought you together at the start. It's fun to see what sticks out in each of your memories, so reminisce over your first impressions of each other as you look back over how far you've come as a couple.
7) Take a Stay-cation
You don't have to travel or plan ahead to take a vacation -- rent a hotel room, suggests Dr. Ruskin. Pack a picnic basket so you don't have to leave the room, or pretend you're tourists in your city. You won't have to keep an eye on the clock to rush home to the kids (until check-out the next day, at least).
8) Grab Some Ice Cream
Meaningful dates don't have to be hours long or even planned in advance. Have someone watch the kids for an hour while you go grab some ice cream -- bring some home for your little ones and they may start looking forward to your dates as much as you do.
Stephanie Glover is a freelance writer from Philadelphia, PA.