Homegrown romance: 7 Steps to the perfect home date night

May 19, 2014 at 4:56 a.m. ET

Don't have a reliable sitter? Money a little tight? No worries, a romantic date night at home is only a few steps away.

couple watching a movie at home

Photo credit: Chris Ryan/OJO Images/Getty Images

Parenthood and romance don't exactly go hand-in-hand. Add some passion to your relationship by planning a date night at home. You'll be pleasantly surprised by just how romantic dating at home can be.

1. Make it a standing engagement

While it may seem unromantic to schedule a date night, life is chaotic. It's all too easy to forget the importance of spending time together. Pick a night that works for you, whether it be once a week or once a month, and make it a date. Of course conflicts will arise from time to time, but you're already a step ahead by having some time set aside with your special guy.

2. Rent a movie

You may end up renting a movie for yourselves, but this one is for kids. Set them up with a favorite movie and some yummy snacks. The effort will be worth it because they will feel like they're having a special night too. Plus, you don't need the extra stress of finishing up your date preparations while entertaining your little ones.

3. Eat late

There's just something sexy and exotic about eating late. Hey, single folks do it all the time. Why should you be any different? Whether you're dining on homemade fare or takeout, don't be afraid of eating after the clock strikes nine. By then the kids should be done with their movie and ready for bed. Play some music, light some candles and get ready for the dinner of your life. While many couples are thinking about turning in, you'll just be getting the romance started.

4. Take turns

Alternate picking themes and activities for your home date nights. If you want a little extra anticipation, keep it a secret until date night. Never knowing what's in store will add that extra bit of excitement to your evening. Picking out what you think will make each other happy is the perfect way to add an element of surprise to your relationship. Communicate your wishes in-between date nights by sending each other texts or emails.

5. Lose the routine

Skip a night of binge-watching your favorite show and opt for something out of the ordinary. Stepping away from your everyday routine will automatically infuse a little passion into your relationship. Break out a movie you watched while dating or take a peek at your honeymoon photos to re-ignite the spark that started it all.

6. Expect the unexpected

The stage has been set and romance is in the air. Embrace the tone of the evening and enjoy some activities that aren't so family-friendly. Home date nights just beg for passionate kisses and then some. The kids are already sleeping; you can freely enjoy a couple of cocktails, and hopefully you've already slipped into something a little more comfortable. Make the most of your evening at home.

7. Keep the romance alive

Don't wait for date night to show you care. Make the time in-between just as romantic with a little flirting and some extra kisses. After a couple of date nights your relationship will be filled with so much extra passion, you won't be able to contain it. You just may find yourself trying to squeeze in a couple more date nights at home.