6 date night ideas that don’t require a babysitter

6 Date nights for parentsWith the economy totally sucking, we’ve modified our babysitter retainer model slightly and are trying to have a few more date nights at home. If you thought it was totally unrealistic when I told you to put your kids to bed before 7pm and have a date-night, I feel you.

Here are six slightly more inventive ideas for dating during your kids waking hours, because let’s admit it, things just ain’t what they used to be.

Dates involving the kids
It can be a tricky balance to let the kids participate and still have it feel like a date, or at least a special occasion.

  1. Serve me. Get the kids to serve you somehow. Big kids can prepare dinner, little kids can walk on your back and we can call it a spa/massage.
  2. Join us. Throw a wintry picnic in the living room, a silly way to celebrate that you’re more than a couple, you’re a family.
  3. Class it up. Order the best takeout in town, serve it on the good china with cloth napkins. Light candles.
  4. Play Rock Band where you do the instruments and singing and your kids accompany with egg shakers and tambourines from their kits. (Rumor has it that Lego Rock Band has kid-friendly tunes.)

fruit and chocolate on a tray

While the kids are distracted
These can be a little hard to pull-off but here are some ideas to sneak in a date while your kids are looking the other way.

  1. Elmo sex. As described by Mom101, “in which you plop the kids down in front of Elmo, race into the bedroom for 15 minutes, then get the 2 minute warning when the theme music comes on?”.
  2. Drug ‘em. Benadryl the kids and make out while they’re passed out. Naw, I wouldn’t. But tell me if you you’ve tried it.

We use a few different strategies to double dip on childcare we’re already using. For example, Alec and I can sometimes have coffee date before work or sneak in a matinee when the boys are at preschool.

What kind of things do you do to have a “date night” at home?

Somewhat-related thoughts: Over on our BabyCenter column, I extol the virtues of video games for parents. If you’re up all night with a baby reading this post — sorry! — I’ll suggest our new sponsor, Baby Sleep Site to the rescue.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.