It does not matter whether or not you are new parents, or parents of older children, couples need and deserve time alone together in order to keep their spark and marriage alive. With the stress of home, work and the kids, it is easy to forget just what they love about that other person and why they got married in the first place. While it may not be easy to escape for the kids for long periods of time, there are little ways to make time for your spouse after having children every day. Here are some ideas:
1) Send the Kids to Their Room
Sending the kids to their room does not have to be taken as a punishment. Kids need time to play and to be separated from the TV every once in a while. Sending the kids to their room gives parents time to talk or watch a movie together, while still having the children within earshot. Once playtime is over, the children should also clean up their own mess, leaving less work for mom and dad and also teaching them more responsibility.
2) Children Can go to Bed Early on Weekends
If the kids normally go to bed late on the weekend, it is a privilege, not a right. If one or both parents work during the week, the weekend might be their only option to spend time together and finding a sitter may not be an option. Every once in a while the kids can be sent to bed a little earlier on the weekends in order to let parents have time to themselves.
3) Find a Sitter
This is obviously the most ideal situation, but some families do not have a reliable sitter or family member to watch their children. If a good sitter is available, at least once a month parents should take advantage and go out on a date night, or even a day date, depending on each individual family’s schedule and limitations.
4) Have A Parents Game Night
Having a parents game night might not mean being alone with each other, it does mean getting in some fun, quality time with other adults, which is just as important. Couple with kids can bring their children over, which means the kids will entertain themselves while the adults play.
5) Send Texts
A lot of jobs and certain lifestyles do not allow parents to answer every single incoming call and certain places prohibit personal calls completely. Instead of a noisy call, parents can send text messages during the day to let their spouse know they are thinking of them. Whatsapp is a great program that is free to download and enables users to send photos, voice messages and texts messages through a wifi or any internet connection via cell phone.
6) Do Chores Together
There is no faster way to scare a child away than to ask them to help do chores; however, this is the perfect opportunity for couples to be with each other. Cooking dinner, washing dishes, working out in the yard or even cleaning out the car not only gets the job done faster with two people, but lets adults have fun while doing it with little to no child interference. Children who see their parents completing chores together will see that both parties share equal responsibility and that just because a task is a chore, it is not necessarily a bad thing.
7) Call or Write for No Reason
If phone calls are allowed, spouses should make an effort to call each other for no reason just to tell the other how much they appreciate them. The call should not be for any other reason, or to ask for a favor like stopping at the grocery store and the message should be short and sweet. The same thing could be said about letters and greeting cards, it does not have to be someone’s birthday or a holiday in order to give someone a card or letter telling them how much they are loved and appreciated.
8) Double Date With the Kids
Sometimes parents can be alone while still being with their children. Finding two movies with similar show times allow parents to watch a movie they enjoy, while their kids can watch a movie in an adjoining theater allowing everyone to enjoy a night out together, but still being apart. This option completely depends on the maturity of the children and the safety level of the theater.
9) Invest in Two TVs
Purchasing another TV might not seem like the most romantic way for couples to spend more time together after having children, but it is one of the more practical ways. Watching TV as a family is recommended, but having an alternate TV available when adults want to watch a movie or TV show not suitable for children is also ideal. To keep parental control over the second television, cable does not have to be connected or on newer TVs, parental settings can be activated with a PIN code. Most DVD and BluRay players can also be controlled with a PIN, so there is no worry about kids watching unapproved movies or shows.
10) Go to a Park
The great part about going to a park is that kids can play while adults sit and chat. The fresh air and sunshine is a natural mood booster and the playground equipment is a sure distraction for children of all ages. Couples can turn the outing into a family picnic and save a bottle of wine for dessert to share while the kids are playing.
11) Find Kid Friendly Restaurants
Many fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King are known for being equipped with play areas, but more and more eateries are starting to follow suit. Couples can enjoy a meal together while their kids are at play, making sure to focus on eat other, and not on whether or not the kids finish all their vegetables. Kids can even be fed a ‘pre meal’ at home, in order to spend less at the restaurant and give more time to parents to eat their meal in peace.
12) Book Play Dates
‘Officially’ booking play dates or sleep overs in advance for kids is a great way to ensure parents get time alone. Taking turns with other parents on evening and weekends gives both families the opportunity to spend time alone with their spouses. Not only will children enjoy the time away from their everyday routine (and their parents), but parents enjoy that time too.
13) Send the Kids Camping
Going on a camping trip does not have to be in the wilderness, it can be in the comfort and safety of the family’s own back yard. Kids love sleeping in tents and spouses can enjoy a nice quite night indoors while the children are ‘roughing it’ outside.
14) Eat a Late Dinner or an Early Breakfast
A quiet dinner for two or breakfast in bed may not be out of the question for couples with kids. Having a late dinner after the munchkins have gone to sleep, or sharing a special dessert made for two, gives parents a few minutes of quality time together and allows them to enjoy a meal alone, even if it is not at one of the finest restaurants. The same thing could be said about breakfast, setting the alarm and getting up for an early cup of coffee together gives parents time to talk before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. However, getting up early could also warrant an afternoon nap together on the weekends, allowing spouses to make even more time for each other.
15) Find Locations with Parent and Child Security Bracelets
Many places now have security measures put into place so that children can only leave with the adults that came with them or dropped them off. Most malls offer play areas where parents can drop off their children (for a small fee, of course) and pick them up later on by showing that all family members have matching bracelets. These places let spouses shop, eat or simply walk around alone while the kids have fun and with no worry involved.
16) Shop for Family Cruises
While this may not be a possibility for all families, most family oriented cruise lines offer kids clubs during the day and early evening, absolutely free. After a certain time, usually around 10 pm, a sitter service is available for a small fee. Kids can enjoy the cruise in their own way and parents can enjoy each other while knowing their kids are having fun too.
17) All Inclusive Hotels
Most all-inclusive hotels offer the same services as family oriented cruise lines. However, most hotels require hourly visits or phone ins from the parents to check in on their children. Spouses can enjoy a day at the beach or a horse back ride, while kids get a field trip to the pool or a behind the scenes look at how the hotel operates.
18) Compete in an Online Game or App
Spouses may not be able to spend a lot of time together in person, competing with each other through an online game or app can still be fun and strike up the spirit of competition. Most games and apps can be played from a computer or smart phone such as Candy Crush, card games like Hearts or Spades, or role playing games like World of Warcraft. The majority of games are free, with the exception of in game purchases, monthly premium memberships or role playing subscription fees.
19) No Tell Motel
A lunch date at a local motel might not be the classiest of dates, but it just might be that little something out of the ordinary that couples need. Day dates do not require finding a babysitter, skipping work or giving any sort of explanation to anyone. This option is not free, but definitely worth it for parents who need some genuine time alone without any sort of interruption.
20) Turn off Cell Phones
Turning off a cell phone is one of the best ways to make time for your spouse after having children. Turning off the phone means turning it completely off, not just turning off the ringer or putting the alerts on silent- completely off. Even if is just one hour a day, spouses need to turn off their phones while together and focus on each other or their family and take the time to talk and reconnect.
21) Do Not Include Social Media
One of the worst things for a couple to do to their relationship is to post it on social media sites. Sending messages, pokes, tweets and posting photos does not constitute making time for each other. A random post or ‘like’ every now and then does not hurt, but carrying on a relationship through social media is never a good thing.
22) Do Not Exchange Quantity for Quality
It may not be possible for everyone to spend quality time with their spouse every single day for whatever the reason may be. Having a good, 10 minute conversation greatly outweighs an hour long lunch that is constantly interrupted by cell phone calls or the need to rush back to the kids or work. Parents need to plan ahead, but also enjoy the quality time of the short moments they may have alone together.
Parents should never feel guilty for wanting time alone, asking for help from friends or relatives or spending a little extra on hiring a sitter. The kids will only be kids for so long before they grow up and leave the house, which means couples will be left to each other. Couples need to love each other just as much as they love their children and keep their relationship growing as their children grow. Making time for your spouse after having children lets you know that you will continue to fall in love over and over again with the person you will grow old with.