After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, it's really frustrating to find a babysitter you like and trust — and who is available when you need them. As for taking your kids out with you on a date, well, then it's not really a date, is it? For parents who need another option, there are babysitter-free date night ideas you could consider.
Full disclosure: I'm not a huge fan of the Duggars, but I do have to say that a couple of Jill Dillard and her husband Derick's babysitter-free date night ideas are pretty good. For their date nights sans a babysitter, they reportedly grabbed a Bloomin' Onion from Outback and Greek salads from Panera and just ate their dinner in the car while the kids watched Curious George in the backseat, Romper reported. And for Valentine's Day, Derick made their dining room into a steak house and served steak, salad, and what looked to be sparking grape juice. Apparently the Dillards love their steak house food. But Romper also reported they had another date night in their car back in July, which included a Dominos pizza in a parking lot. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.
I think we can do better than pizza in the parking lot, don't you think? It will just take a bit of creativity, bed/nap time, and planning ahead (and probably younger children, if I'm being honest. These 11 babysitter-free date night ideas could be your chance to bond, reconnect, and remember why you fell in love with your spouse again. Just make sure the kids aren't too eager to interrupt.
1. Scenic Drive
If your kids are asleep in the backseat from the day's activities, play some soft music to keep them asleep, and plan a scenic drive together outside of your normal routine. Maybe cruise by some lakes or country scenery? As long as the kiddos stay asleep, just make it about you two. Hold hands as you're driving to make it even more romantic.
2. Date Box Subscription
Have a date night delivered right to your door. Datebox Club is budget-friendly and they provide themed boxes like "Paint Night," filled with art supplies and tutorials, "Spa Night," with foot baths and pampering supplies, and a "Hawaii Box," which features a Hawaiian game and a puka shell bracelet kit. They also have puzzles and chocolate fondu.
3. Movie Night In
Pop some popcorn, slather it in butter, grab your favorite candy, and watch a non-G-rated movie on the couch with your partner. Make it special by renting something on demand, or you can even watch something on Netflix — perhaps Netflix and chill?
4. Dance Party/Club In The Living Room
My husband and I are totally guilty of this. We dance to everything from fun "fist-pumping" jams to slow songs. It's really fun and a break from the normal routine. Just keep the music low enough and dance in a room far away enough from your kids' so they don't wake up.
5. Order Takeout From Somewhere Fancy
With Zifty, Grub Hub, Uber Eats, and more, there is literally nothing you can't order in. Check out some of the fancier restaurants in your area and see if they're participating in one of the home delivery services. For most of them, you can even schedule ahead and have them deliver to your house by a certain time, which could be a late night delivery after the kids are in bed.
6. Bake Together
Baking after hours can definitely be a fun and sometimes sensual experience. Maybe go a la 1990 Ghost and knead some dough together to bake delicious chocolate chip cookies. Who needs to know how to throw pottery, right? Take this as an opportunity to flirt.
7. Learn Something New Together
YouTube offers so many more videos than funny animal clips. You can learn just about anything on there. A couple of days before your date, pick a video about something you've both always wanted to learn, grab the supplies, and settle in after the kids go to bed with your new hobby. It's always fun to learn something new —especially with your partner.
8. Drive-In Movie
This usually works best if you wore the kids out with fun stuff during the day so they're tired enough to pass out in the back seat. While they're sleeping, drive up and watch a movie that isn't rated G. Worst case scenario, give them their own movie to watch in the back seat with their headphones if your vehicle has that capability.
9. Couple's Night
Invite other couples with or without kids over for a game night and make it a "half-sleepover" with your kids and theirs. While they're playing and or sleeping, you guys have some fun adult time with friends.
10. Start A New (To You) Show On Netflix
Again, grab some popcorn and other snacks, hop on the couch with a blanket, and start a new show — while the kids are in bed, of course. This activity can be used for date nights to come, so you don't watch the show without the other person. Maybe try to do this once or twice a week if the kids will let you.
11. Plan An Intimate Evening
Plan ahead. I know some folks feel like that takes the romance out of it, but building the anticipation can definitely be sexy, in my opinion. You can send each other sexy text messages all day, and then once the kiddos are in bed, hop into a candlelit bath (or shower), play some sexy tunes, and light some candles. From the bath, keep the party going by pulling out the massage oil. Hopefully the little ones won't interrupt, but maybe if you time it just right, you can make another baby. Kidding, kidding.
No matter what you do, and I know it's hard when you're exhausted, when the kids are asleep and it's just the two of you, try to reconnect in some way. Your family will be happy you did.