date night | date night at home | date night ideas | date night at home ideas | date night when you don't have a sitterHaving date night with my husband is something he both try to make a priority.  We are busy, life is crazy with two young kids.  Between homeschooling, having a special needs child, and our jobs we’re exhausted by the time the kids go to bed.  By this time, we both need some time to unwind from the stress of the day.  Unfortunately, we have very different ways of unwinding.  This means we often end of doing our own thing rather than connecting with each other.   While I value the importance of having alone time (especially as an introvert) we need to be careful that we still take the time to develop our relationship with our spouse.

If we continue to each do our “own thing” night after night our relationship will be in danger of growing stale.  I believe one of the best ways to keep your marriage strong is to continue dating your spouse.  But to be honest, the biggest problem we face in making date night a priority is getting a babysitter.  Here’s our problem, with a special needs child it can be hard to get a sitter for a few reasons.

  1. There is a small list of people we would ask to babysit.
  2. Most of those people are adults with a busy plate themselves, so availability can be difficult.
  3. Often they would rather watch the kids at their house (which I completely get) but as Ladybug gets bigger accessibility in other houses is becoming a big issue.
  4. Then there is the even shorter list of people willing to babysit our special need child.
  5. It costs money, this is probably the biggest reason for us.  With a limited budget there isn’t much left for date night after we pay a sitter.

I will add that my in-laws live close by and have offered to watch the kids on numerous occasions. We are extremely grateful to them for that.  However, sometimes I feel guilty for using them as often as we.  The last thing I want to do is take them for granted and assume they will always be willing.  There have also been a couple times when friends from church have offered to come babysit so Todd and I can have a night out.  I’m not sure they realize just how much that meant to us.

More often than not, our date nights happen at home after the kids go to bed.  They are simple, cheap, and most importantly your goal of spending quality time with each other to reconnect is met.  Here are some of the date nights we’ve had at home:

  1. Play a game – at first this was a struggle because most of the games we had were for 4+ players.  We purchased a couple 2 player games, or will play cards.
  2. Rent a movie – Because of all the reasons listed above, we don’t see many in the theaters anymore.  It’s a great way to see the movie you wanted to see, cuddle on the couch, and watch something that isn’t on the Disney Channel!
  3. Play video games – My husband is a gamer, I am not.  In fact I have no video game skills what so ever.  Since I’m not a gamer, it really wouldn’t be fun to me to learn how to play his favorite game.  What we have done though, is get old games like pac-man.  We would challenge each other for high score (ok it wasn’t a challenge he kicks my butt every time) but we have fun.
  4. Put a puzzle together – this one might take a few date nights to complete, but that will actually help you make the next date night a priority!
  5. Sit out on the porch and discuss your dreams together – I’m not talking about the day to day life stuff, but actually dream together.  What do you want your next family adventure to be?  What can you do to make it happen?
  6. Play in the snow
  7. Look at the stars

To make your at home date night successful, there are also a few guidelines.  First, schedule it.  Yes you can be spontaneous but agree together that you want tonight to be date night.  This gives you both time to do those tasks you need to do before the date starts.  Try to give each other an hour to wrap up things so you can give each other your undivided attention.  If you give each other time to wrap things up you can finish the dishes, send the email, make the phone call all before date night.

On the other hand, if you spring the idea of having date night on your spouse they might feel pressure between completing tasks and spending quality time with you.  Even if they decide to blow off the tasks for date night, they will still be distracted by any unfinished business.  Communicate your desire for date night earlier in the day so each of you are prepared and ready without distraction.

Second, put away the phone, computer, tablet ect.  This is time dedicated to your spouse.  Even though you’re not leaving the house, treat it like an actual date.  Don’t let yourself get distracted by everything else.  Make sure your spouse has your undivided attention.  Letting yourself become distracted by all the devices only communicates that date night/quality time isn’t that important to you.

Most importantly, have FUN!

Did I miss any date night ideas for when you don’t have a sitter?  What kind of date nights have you had at home?  

I would love to hear about them, comment below!