Valentine’s Day was tricky enough for some people in it’s own right, pre-parenthood. Finding the time and the energy to buy gifts, set aside an evening and sometimes even a separate day for you and your spouse to celebrate this day of love required effort.
Now, in the trenches we call parenthood, every date night seems like more of a preparation for battle than for romance. It can take careful planning and execution for a successful night out, so we often opt for half of a movie at home with some popcorn and call date night accomplished.
But darnit we deserve a night out! And Valentine’s Day is THE day where you are given a national excuse to celebrate your love. We’d like to make the planning process a little bit easier for all you parents out their racking your brains on how to make this holiday happen for you and your sweetheart.
First, let’s lay out the possible scenarios.
1. Kid-less couple. You’ve gotten a babysitter/ kids will not be present for at least 2 hours of your evening. (in which case, we’re all cheering for you… except for those of us who could not score said babysitter. We are NOT cheering for you)
2. Family night out. You’ve decided to be gutsy and take your kids out WITH you for Valentine’s Day. Out of all the possible third wheels the world has to offer you and your spouse, hands down your favorite of all the crowning scenarios is a date accompanied by your kids.
3. Family night in. You will be staying home and want to incorporate some family-friendly Valentine’s Day activities into your home to celebrate your familial, not just couple’s, love
4. Couple’s night in. You’ll be staying home but are looking for something to do with just the two of you while kids are either sleeping/distracted/young enough to kind of tag along without interrupting too much
Frankly, the sky is the limit for you two and my only advice is to not waste this precious time alone. Do whatever your kid-less hearts desire! However, feel free to take a look at the following scenario options for inspiration.
Family Night Out
For those EXTRA gutsy families who would like to eat a meal out together we’ve got a list here of the most family-friendly chain restaurants in the nation:
Color Me Mine
DISCLAIMER: This option is only for those who either have children old enough to not behave like a bull in a china shop/ have extraordinarily well-behaved littles. This could be a fun, relaxing way to spend time with your family on Valentine’s Day. Either give each family member free reign to choose their own piece to paint or work on a big bowl together to use for popcorn at home. Click the link below for Color Me Mine locations:
- Evening at the Park
Small touches will make this activity more exciting than just a regular trip to the park! Bring special drinks, candy, extra blankets, prep group or outdoor games to play beforehand, and maybe even a movie on a laptop for everyone to lie down and watch together.
Family Night In
Kid’s & Grown Ups Cheese Board
You know those meals you assemble for your toddler most days? A little bit of this, some orange slices here, a string cheese there… well join in with them but make it with grown up food! Buy the fancy cheese, some prosciutto, olives, arugula, a fresh baguette- and any other romantic finger foods you can think of. Your kids will probably love that you’re eating a meal just like theirs. This way you, your sweetheart, and your kiddos all win. If you need more food inspiration, check out this blog post.
Pick your favorite crust recipe, throw some aprons on your little kitchen helpers and dive in to dough making. Throw on some Italian Opera Pandora for an extra fancy feel. If you’d opt for an easier dough assembly, buy a pack of frozen Rhodes Rolls, thaw them, and mold them into circles. Bonus points: Making the pizzas into heart shapes! For those looking for the best pizza crust:
Valentine’s Minute to Win It
Is your family all about the games and fun-tivities? Look no further:
Make it a Group Thing
Invite over your favorite friends who have little ones and tag team the meal/ games! Hanging out with people who understand the need for social interaction and are willing to go with the flow during a night of probable interruptions makes all the difference in your ability to enjoy yourself at home. There is strength in numbers.
Couples Night In
Eating melted chocolate on the ground in your living room with your favorite person. My only question is why would you NOT want to do this? When the kids are snoozing, grab some strawberries, graham crackers, and anything else you feel is appropriate to be chocolate-dipped, pull out your mattress and have a party.
Put your favorite chocolate bars in a saucepan with a bit of vegetable/coconut oil (1 tsp oil to 4 oz chocolate is a good ratio), cook on med-high heat until smooth
20 (or however many you want) Questions
This is a great way to recognize Valentine’s without much effort. Spend the day texting, emailing, note-writing, and asking each other meaningful questions about your childhood, life together, and dreams for the future. When you go to bed you’ll feel like you’ve spent most of the day reminiscing and celebrating each other. Here’s a list of questions if you need some inspiration:
Movie & a Fort/ Tent
Classic date night. Create a fort masterpiece that your kids would envy or set up that tent you got for your wedding and never use anymore. Rent a movie from Redbox or cast one on Netflix that you’ve never watched and enjoy some meaningful alone time. Here’s some Redbox codes that will allow a one-time free movie at most locations.