Three of my five children are away for the summer for the first time ever. With only two small children at home, my husband and I feel like we've gone back to the days of being young parents -- it's been a long time since our family could fit in a sedan.
We're enjoying the company of our little ones, but we'd also like a little grown-up time. So we sat down to figure out a few baby-friendly date night ideas. Here's what we came up with.
Dinner and a movie -- at home.
An evening out can be a hassle, especially for a nursing mom. At home, you can put your baby to bed -- in our house, we have a 7:30 "universal bedtime" policy for all children. By eight o'clock, my husband and I can sit down to a quiet, child-free meal, then enjoy a movie thanks to our Netflix subscription. If our baby wakes up and needs to nurse, I can take care of him quickly and efficiently -- and I don't spend date night worrying that I didn't pump enough milk.
Out and about -- with a stroller or a sling.
Summer evenings are the perfect time to take a walk. Put baby in the stroller or the sling and take turns pushing or carrying as you walk and talk over your day. If the baby goes to sleep, you can sit on a park bench, grab a seat at a nearby coffeeshop, or even pop into a restaurant for a meal.
Go for the groceries
A dozen or so years ago, before we had children, my husband and I used to do the grocery shopping together each week. You can still do this with a small baby, especially if you're comfortable using a sling. Strolling the aisles together gives you a chance to catch up, reconnect, and maybe even plan a few special meals. Plus, it's one task you can cross off your to-do list.
Hit the road together.
Strap the baby securely in his carseat and go for a drive. Most infants will fall asleep fairly quickly in a moving car. You can drive around to look at neighborhoods, lights -- or park the car and let your imagination run wild.
However you choose to spend the evening, it is important to keep the tradition of date night alive. Investing in your marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
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