There are so many events that have been cancelled in our world right now, but date night is not one of them.
My husband and I have learned that in our marriage we have to keep date nights a priority. It gives us a chance to talk without interruptions and the opportunity to continue to learn new things about each other after being together for 15 years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders we would try to go out on a date at least once, if not twice, every month. Now that we’re quarantined we’ve had to get creative on ways we can fill our marriage cup. We needed to be intentional with our time together. Not only our time together as a couple but also our time together as a family. Here are a few things we’ve done for date night with each other as well as with our kids.
- Put the kids to bed early. Before our lives were turned upside down in March after the kids would go to bed my husband and I would normally go to sleep soon after them. Now that we know there’s no way we can schedule a traditional date we’ve started putting the kids to bed a little bit earlier so we can have some time together. We never were that couple that had a show that they watched religiously together but we decided to pick a show and start! A few things we’ve watched have been “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix and all of the “Mission: Impossible” movies. We turn this into a family date by letting the kids agree on a movie. Then we pile a bunch of blankets into a laundry basket for them to sit in and they have a “drive-in” movie!
- Make special food a priority! We love to add fun snacks like s’mores or different kinds of dips to make together after the kids go to bed. We also like to make a special meal for just the two of us so we can still have a more traditional date night feel. This has been so fun because we’ve gotten to try different recipes that take up more time than we’re used to having. Family date nights get fun when we break out our fondue pot we got for our wedding and let the kids go crazy with all the different things they can dip in chocolate! We also plan a fancy family date night once a week where we make all of our favorite foods, set the table, and get dressed up. Usually when we’re all at the table together it’s a good time to play our questions game. We go around the table and ask each other different questions like what their favorite candy is or what they’re grateful for.
- Bring back Game Night! When school got cancelled in March, I stocked up on some fun things we could do with the kids. One of the games I got was Uno – we had no idea how much fun we’d have playing this together! Another thing we discovered was that our Alexa has the ability to play games. Some of our favorites have been “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” These games have been hilarious to play! We turned game night into a family affair by teaching our six and three-year old to play Uno. This has been our version of homeschool math for our son while our daughter is perfecting her color and number recognition. Here are some other fun games for family game night.
- Get outside. On nights the weather is nice, we like to sit outside on the back deck and just talk. There are no distractions and there is something that is just so relaxing to sit under the stars and enjoy the peace and quiet (i.e no kids screaming). It gets a lot louder when we let the kids build a fort on the trampoline with dozens of blankets and pillows. We love to camp in our backyard.
- Walks and bike rides. As I’m sure most families have been doing, we’ve been going on a lot of walks and bike rides in the past months. It’s been so fun to watch our three-year old learn to use the pedals on her bike. We surprised our six-year old by getting him an odometer for his bike so he can see how fast he can ride and how far he’s gone. Sometimes each of our kids need some one-on-one time and since there aren’t a lot of places that we can go, a long walk or bike ride fulfills that need for us.
After a long day that can be filled with so many different emotions it’s easy to want to just crash into bed. However, for me, I’ve noticed that I need something fun to look forward to in order to calm my fears and anxieties about the world right now. I noticed the same for our kids too. Real mom talk for a second? Having already been with the kids every second of every day, sometimes the idea of spending more time with them when you just need a break seems daunting but this is something special to look forward to. And after we’ve been much for intentional with our time, we all come away in better moods.