Parents, what’s your biggest hangup with date night? For us it’s finding (and affording) a babysitter. We have countless date ideas, are always eager to spend time together and yet when it comes to actually nailing down a time with a sitter, we’re often times at a loss. On those nights we usually resort to takeout and a movie after bedtime, which I admit, isn’t the worst way to spend an evening. That being said, it’s always nice to breathe fresh air and have a conversation with your spouse. You know, out in the world while wearing something other than sweatpants?
We learned early on in parenthood that a lot of our “dates” we’re going to have to include our kiddo. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not nearly as sexy as that undivided date night attention at a candlelit restaurant and you’re right, it most certainly is not.
But, we’ve learned the hard way that there’s honestly no good excuse not to make time for each other, even if that means having to get a little creative and bring your kiddo along.
Over the last three plus years we’ve gathered multiple ways we can sneak a date in without a babysitter and I feel like from one parent to another I’ve just gotta share these small parenting victories with you all.
Head to the beach, lake, or neighborhood park with a picnic.
Let your kids be involved with the planning on this one. For us this means a trip to the grocery store to pick out their favorite snacks, helping put together the picnic at home and packing everything for a couple hours at the beach, lake, or neighborhood park. Our kiddo is a little planner so I’ve found including him in that process makes it more exciting and enjoyable for us all. Bring a blanket, take a seat, spread out the food, eat and sit back (maybe bring an adult beverage or two so long as you’re not driving), and enjoy some time together while your kids play!
Check out a concert in the park.
One of our absolute favorite things to do in Brooklyn in the warmer months is to take advantage of the Celebrate Brooklyn concert series. Of course there are countless perks to actually attending the shows, but we also learned early on that you can pretty much hear everything from just outside the bandshell in Prospect Park, which is much more ideal when you have your little ones along for the ride. Pack a blanket, a picnic, plenty of toys for the kids and listen to your favorite bands outside! If they’re young enough to fall asleep in their stroller I’d bring that too, and you can really maximize your time. Plus, this is a great way to not only get some time with your spouse, but your friends too!
Stroller crawl (think pub-crawl minus the pubs).
We’re approaching the age where we will no longer have a stroller for our oldest and it’s breaking my heart just a bit because it’s made clocking some quality time as a couple so much easier. One of our favorite things to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning is to get up and out of the house early and head to a new neighborhood with a pre-planned map of walkable places with the stroller. We typically include a coffee shop, a bakery, a playground, a book store and somewhere to end for lunch.
“Crawling” from each spot to the next with the stroller gives us time to talk while we walk, connect over our week, and set goals for the next.
A long walk to an indoor play space + ice cream.
Can you tell we love, love, love food yet? A lot of our ice cream stands, trucks and spots are seasonal, but now that it’s warming up they’re opening their doors, and we’re all about it. On hotter days, we really enjoy stopping for an ice cream and taking a long walk to an indoor play space to cool off. This local spot is our favorite, I mean they even serve Stumptown coffee and fresh squeezed juices. My husband and I love watching our son play while getting to have an untraditional coffee date!
Grab a drink at a family friendly bar with friends.
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we are all about bringing the whole family to the bar so long as we’re all welcome! In our general neighborhood there are plenty of spots that accommodate kiddos, and we are so grateful for them. Honestly, it’s really not about catching a buzz (although a beer or two doesn’t hurt), but for us, it has been our ticket to socializing with friends. As the first in our circle to have kids we’ve had to find ways to not only connect as a couple but to connect as a couple with our friends. Sites like The Infatuation do a great job of putting guides together based on your city, (like this one). So if you’re wondering where you can bring your kids, do a little digging – I promise it’s worth it!
Have you found any date night hacks that include the kids? I’d love to hear your ideas below in the comments!