Date night after kids is far different from date night with kids. Arranging babysitters, timing outings, and getting everything prepped before you go out is a lot of work.  When you have young children, it’s even more of a balancing act. Yet, despite the challenges, it’s always worth the extra time when you get to spend time alone with your spouse.    The problem in MY house is that my husband & I are always too exhausted to go out (or maybe it’s just that we like being home).   SO… what is the solution?  Date your spouse without leaving the house.   

How to Have a Date Night with Your Spouse When You Can’t Afford a Babysitter… or you don’t want to go OUT of the house. ??

I have found that many people think of “dating your spouse” as getting all dressed up & heading out on the town.  Sometimes despite our best intentions to get a babysitter, we find that it’s just not worth the cost or the effort, honestly.  A babysitter for one or two children is pricey, but a babysitter for multiple children? It can add up quickly.   Plus, when you add in the cost of the date (dinner, movie, etc…) you are really getting up there in price.  The truth of the matter is… as a mother of four young children, the “perfect date” for me involves hanging out in yoga pants, playing a board game with my husband, eating a bowl of ice cream or popcorn… and knowing that I have nowhere to be except home.  😉 Instead of canceling date night altogether, we’ve come up with three go-to stay-at-home date nights that really make us feel like we’re alone (despite the fact that there are little ones sleeping not far from where we are).  If you’re struggling with date nights when you can’t afford a babysitter, don’t fret. Try the ideas below instead!
  1. Movie Night

Now, movie night for our stay-at-home date night is no ordinary movie night. After the kids are tucked in bed, it’s time to break out the air popcorn popper, melt some butter, and make a massive bowl of popcorn.  Since you don’t have to pay for a babysitter, you can splurge on the few dollars it costs to rent a new movie on Amazon Prime. If money is really tight though, don’t worry – there are tons of free movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix that you can watch for just the cost of your membership fee. Snuggle under a warm blanket, put the bowl of popcorn between you and enjoy watching the movie that you’ve been wanting to watch… that isn’t filled with cartoon characters. It’s a lot of fun – not to mention being cost effective!
  1. Moonlight Fire Pit Rendevous

In the winter, we’ve taken hot cocoa and flannel blankets outside to sit by the fire pit. In the summer, a tall glass of ice tea or homemade strawberry lemonade outside with some easy snacks.  If we have marshmallows, we toast them for S’ mores, but if we don’t we still enjoy the warmth of the fire and the spark of great conversation. It feels a little adventurous being in the backyard just the two of us after the kids have gone to bed.  Almost like camping… which we haven’t done since we were dating!   Of course, the mom in me has the intercom in the grass beside me – just in case! 😉  mom-for-the-win TIP:  After you finish up, leave the firepit set up for the kids on the following night (save some of the marshmallows, crackers & chocolate, too!) 
  1. Board Games After Bedtime

Depending on the kind of day it’s been, we’ve been known to break out Scattegories or Gone Bananas and play for hours. If the day has been a bit more challenging, a game of cards with a bowl of ice cream and a glass of diet coke or tea is more our style.   We set the game up on the coffee table in the living room and put the big, fluffy floor pillows (Playing cards around the table is reminiscent of our pre-marriage dating days). The simplicity of the date night, coupled with the competition of the game, and the ensuing laughter it brings always leaves us smiling and enjoying our stay-at-home adventure. This is our favorite date-night idea… a game & snacks at home.   It’s so much better than hanging out on your phones or watching a show (even though I often opt for #1 when I’m tired) because you get to CONNECT when you talk & play.  It’s a win-win. 🙂  How to Have a Date Night with Your Spouse When You Can't Afford a Babysitter... or you don't want to go OUT of the house. (1) I used to think that date night had to involve getting dressed up and going somewhere fancy that we’d never go with the kids.  The problem is that by the time we were going on the date, we didn’t want to get changed into anything except PAJAMAS!    In reality, date night is anytime we do something special together after the kids have gone to bed. If you can’t afford a babysitter, it doesn’t have to ruin your plans for time alone.  Just think outside of the box and resolve to have fun no matter what you’re doing.  

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