Nurturing a healthy and loving relationship with your spouse will go a long way in helping you in your joint roles as parents to your children. A study1 on parents’ relationship quality and children’s behavior found that parents with more supportive relationships had children with fewer behavioral problems. The results of the study suggested that children benefit from parents’ ability to love, support, and communicate with each other.
A good relationship with your spouse benefits not just the two of you, but your children as well! Although the usual demands of family, home, and work may leave little time for relationship building with your spouse, going on dates together is one good way to maintain a healthy and supportive relationship.
Unfortunately, a lot of parents find it difficult to go on dates simply because they have no one to look after the kids. Date nights do not have to be done the same way as before you had kids, though. Having no helper, or yaya, should not prevent you from having some couple time. Sometimes all it takes is some creativity.
Here are a few date ideas for parents who have no yayas.
1. Have a movie night. Choose a recently-shown date movie or wait for the next good one. On your date night, put the kids early to sleep and set a good ambiance – dim the lights, bring out a few snacks or order some pizza, and fix a comfortable place in front of your TV. Cuddle up and enjoy the movie!
2. Spend time outdoors. This particular date idea would require bringing your kids along. On a beautiful late afternoon weekend, head over to a nearby park or playground such as The Quezon City Circle, Salcedo Park in Makati, Bonifacio High Street, or the UP Sunken Garden. Bring a mat you can sit on while you let the kids run and play around. Turn it into a picnic by bringing a few snacks and drinks.
3. Go star gazing. If you have an outdoor area where you can put a mat and lie down, going on an impromptu star gazing is a good idea on a clear night. It will be an intimate and romantic chance to just lie down together and look at the stars when the kids are asleep, but there’s no reason why it can’t be an enjoyable family date if the kids are awake.
4. Exercise together. Setting a regular exercise activity for the two of you will not only be good for your relationship, it will also be great for your health. You don’t need someone to look after the kids to do a workout video together. You can let them play while you exercise or you can even let them join. There are a lot of exercise videos online and you can easily diversify your repertoire.
5. Give each other a spa treatment. Going to the spa to get a massage is a refreshing and rejuvenating date for many couples and it is something you can have right in your own home! On a night when the kids sleep early, take turns giving each other a body massage. Complete the experience by lighting some scented candles or burning scented oils and playing some relaxing music.
6. Take a shower together. If your kids are old enough to play together in a safe area (or you can just wait for them to go to sleep), take a quick refreshing shower together. Make sure to lock the bathroom doors!
7. Talk over coffee and pastries. Quick coffee shop dates may not be as doable for parents with no yayas. If you cannot stay in the coffee shop, why not bring the coffee shop home with you? Pick up a few pastries and cups of coffee from your favorite coffee shop and save them for when the kids are asleep. If you do not even have time to go to the coffee shop, you can make your own coffee and bake some muffins or brownies at home.
8. Share a candlelit dinner. Miss having a fancy dinner with your spouse? Prepare something nice for dinner (or buy some from your favorite restaurant) and put the kids to bed early. Make it a complete experience by putting candles on the table, using good linen and nice utensils, dimming the lights, and playing romantic songs that are memorable for the two of you.
9. Slow dance. A date can be as simple as playing romantic songs and dancing together. You can even take it a notch higher by learning a specific type of dance together such as the waltz, tango, or salsa.
10. Play games together. Whether you choose to play video games, card games, or board games, have fun and enjoy. Although it would be nice to do this as a couple after the kids have gone to bed, you can also include your little ones in the fun.
In all of the above date night ideas, the key is to enjoy your time together because that is what a date is all about. Turn even just a few minutes of uninterrupted conversation into a date by putting on the charm and flirting with your spouse. For parents with no yayas, it is important to seize every opportunity that comes. While not every planned date night will go as you hoped it would, there will be unexpected and enjoyable ones too.
References: 1 Goldberg, J.S. & Carlson, M.J. (2014). Parents’ Relationship Quality and Children’s Behavior in Stable Married and Cohabiting Families. University of Wisconsin-Madison. http://crcw.princeton.edu/workingpapers/WP13-08-FF.pdf