At Home Date Night Tips to Help You Reconnect

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An At Home Date Night is a great opportunity to connect with your partner and enjoy some focused time. Pulling it off with kids afoot can be tricky. Check out these tips to help you reclaim the romance.

mustard grilled chicken on platter and dinner plate

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Pictured: Mustard Grilled Chicken, Seasoned Rice Pilaf, and Garlic Green Beans

Date Night. Those words have quite a ring to them, don’t they?

But, for parents, sometimes a romantic evening out can seem more like a distant fairy tale.

… Maybe the budget doesn’t really allow room for a carriage ride and an elegant dinner out.

…Perhaps fairy godmothers, I mean, babysitters are hard to come by or too expensive.

…Or possibly Mom or Dad is just plain tuckered out by the end of the day, too tired to dance the night away.

You can spend sweet time together, even if it means staying home. Reclaim the romance!

An At Home Date Night is just the ticket for reconnecting with the one you love. The following are suggestions for creating a delightful evening – for just the two of you – at home.

At Home Date Night Tips

cheese cubes with toothpicks and bowl of crackers

Host a private wine and cheese party for two.

Choose two or three different kinds of cheeses. Add a sliced baguette or crackers, some grapes, and a bottle of wine. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In a pinch, grab whatever snacks you’ve got.

Light some candles in your room and turn on some mood music. Have a snack and relax together.

Watch a movie.

With all the streaming services now available, watching a movie is just a few clicks away.

Guys, be prepared for a chick flick if you can. Some classics to consider:

Ladies, be willing to watch adventure films or comedies if that is what your guy prefers. The point is to spend time together.

Research a film that you would both enjoy.

bryan and jessica with flowers

Take a walk down Memory Lane.

Bust out the scrapbooks or your wedding video. Walk back in time and reminisce about your life spent together.

Good memories can help us refocus and enjoy the moments that are happening today.

Play a game together.

Think back to an era when choke-able game pieces were not a concern. Trivial Pursuit, Sequence, Blokus, Uno, and Yahtzee are all great choices.

What games did you play together when you were dating? Choose something that is more fun than competitive. You don’t want to go to bed in a huff because you lost.

A regular deck of cards has provided entertainment for years. Consider learning a new card game or renewing interest in an old one. Now that the kids aren’t around, plug in your gaming system and try your hand at something new to you.

You can even take your game time outside, weather permitting. Play a few moonlit rounds of Bocce or Croquet.

kindle with book cover showing

Be your own book club.

Find a common interest (mystery, thriller, historical fiction) and cuddle up with a good book. Take turns reading aloud and discussing what is happening and making predictions. Throw in some yummy snacks for good measure.

Some good reads:

Cook together.

Chances are, regular dinner prep is a little crazy at your house. With several hungry mouths to feed, the purpose is simply to get food on the table.

Enjoy the moment of creating food. C’mon, don’t you remember the romance of Ratatouille? Turn on some music, light a few candles, and spend some time chopping and cooking together.

Pasta dishes always seem to be romantic. Divide up the tasks (salad, bread, pasta) and get cookin’.

table set with shrimp pasta

Pictured: Shrimp Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce

Have a candlelight dinner for your at home date night.

If cooking is not your idea of fun, order from your favorite exotic, but inexpensive restaurant. Think about food you don’t usually eat with the kids; Thai, Indian, French, or Chinese come to mind.

If a restaurant meal is still outside the budget, peruse the frozen food or deli aisles of your favorite grocer. There are a number of elegant, prepared items to warm up at home. Sit together and eat your meal slowly. Discuss the day. Discuss the future. Tell funny stories.

Plan a picnic in your room.

Something simple can be fun. Pick up a fried chicken dinner and pack a basket as if you really are heading out. That way you won’t have to leave your room for something you forgot. Spread a blanket and eat on the floor.

bread on cutting board with snack dinner plate

Cuddle by the fire, in the spa, on a blanket under the stars.

Atmosphere, people! Date night doesn’t have to be complicated. A few years ago, just sitting together and staring at a beautiful landscape was entertainment enough.

It may take some getting used to, but you can reclaim those sweet moments of time gone by. Be willing to be quite together, hand in hand.

toddler holding mom's hands

Home Alone (well, almost)

Putting the kids to bed early is a prerequisite to the At-Home Date Night. Easier said than done, right?

  • Develop a bedtime routine that helps everyone settle down.
  • Skip their afternoon nap if you need to.
  • Take the children to the park earlier in the day to ensure exhaustion (theirs, not yours) and a good night’s sleep.
  • Feed them a hearty supper, read some stories, and put them in their jammies.

Do what you need to do to make a bedtime atmosphere. Certainly, don’t tell them that you’re going to “have a party.” Tuck them in bed, turn off the lights, and disappear.

Now, one caveat: despite your best planning, something unexpected could happen. The baby might wake up colicky; your toddler may develop the stomach flu; the kids may smell something’s up and be really resistant to hitting the sack.

This is parenting.

But, as you’ve learned already, you gotta roll with the punches. Come up with a game plan to handle these minor crises (on your at home date night!) and then when everything calms down, go to bed early – together!

What has worked for you to make an at home date night happen?

A plate of food on a table, with text overlay: At Home Date Night.

This post was originally published on June 9, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.

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  1. Great ideas! One of our favorite games is YamSlam (so much better than Yahtzee!) and we love to cook a meal together. Takeout is also a fun special treat to enjoy together. Anything, where we get to spend uninterrupted time together, is considered a win!

  2. I think women are the only ones who need “date nights”. Men don’t need a fancy meal or any meal at all really. Give them some cheese and crackers and then a massage and “you know what else” and they will be the happiest men on earth.

    1. Gretchen, my husband is all about the fancy meal. I’m the one ok with Wendy’s. 🤣
      My kids are all teens now. But when they were younger, it was definitely hard to afford a nice meal and babysitter. You definitely need to be creative. We had a little bistro table on our patio that I pulled into the bedroom and pretended it was a French cafe. We had some French food and it was fun. The corniest thing I did once, but my husband still remembers, was fill the kiddie pool with hot water for a hot tube. I had candles and the whole bit. How stupid right? But it was a great night.
      Be creative!

  3. Hubs and I have always done date nights. It is harder when you have little ones though so the stay at home date night is such a nice option.

    Hubs and I have been married for almost 31 years and we just like getting out together. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can use coupons, or just eat at a good-food restaurant, we just like being together. I always dress up a bit whether it’s the cafeteria or wherever. Certain things constitute date-night for me…Special things like my nice perfume are only for datenight. Nice music in the car playing.

    Many times we end up at a nice Target to grab a few things quickly or perhaps a mall bookstore and then if we have time we’ll go grab a simple coffee somewhere.

    It’s always nice to get back home too safe and sound.

    For me? I think it’s sweet my husband wants to take me on a datenight. It’s his particular way of showing love and care. I guess it’s his love language and I appreciate that. : )

  4. My husband and I order take-out and eat it at the table after the kids go to bed. Just the act of eating and talking without the thousand interruptions gets us feeling more connected.