15 At-Home Date Night Ideas For Busy Parents
Because you can do better than another Netflix binge.
A true date night — ya know, dinner, drinks, maybe a movie or game or a show — is always a great event to have on the calendar. But making it a regular thing requires something parents don’t often have: time and energy. But carving out time for fun and connection in your marriage — time that allows you remember who you are as partners and people and not just as parents — is incredibly important to happiness. That’s why we’d urge you to keep that date night on your calendar, but simply schedule some at-home date night ideas. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all been spending a lot of time indoors. But there are still plenty of ways to connect and enjoy one another’s company and make it feel special. In terms of what makes a great date night, well, it’s all about the energy you bring and what feels right to you. Like what you ask? Well, below is a variety of simple at-home date night ideas. Hopefully one will provide some inspiration.
At-Home Date Night Ideas
- Ask Some Questions
If your spouse had $5,000 right now to spend on one thing what would they blow it on? If they could talk to their teenage self what would they tell them? If they could shrink any animal down to house-cat-size and keep it as a pet, what would they choose? A night of getting to know one another by asking probing questions is genuinely fun (so long as you pepper in some fun ones). Why? The more you open up, the deeper a bond you’ll create. Sit on the couch with a glass of wine and fire a few off. (Here are 51 questions for couples to start with)
- Have a Phone-Free Dinner
That is, power your device down and just focus on one another for the entire meal. Maybe you tend to look at your phone too often; maybe you don’t. But this is an excellent exercise for carving out real time together. The simple act of proposing this makes the intention clear: “I want to focus on you and only you for the evening.” Ain’t that sweet?
- Enjoy a No-Power Evening.
Okay, don’t, like, switch off all the breakers and reset the clocks. But turn off the lights in the room where you’ll be. Light candles. Power down all your devices. Resolve to not watch TV. Play cards or board games. If you want to cosplay like it’s the Middle Ages to add to the vibe, hey that’s up to you.
- Plan a DIY Spa Night
Relaxation, anyone? Surprise your partner with a calming night in — or agree on a night of mutual relaxation. Buy a few fat bath bombs, face masks, and scrubs. Draw a bath. Light candles. Play some chill music. Whatever works for you. The key is to sink into the moment together and be down to enjoy a face mask. (Pro tip: Heat up towels and robes you use in the drier so they’re warm when you use them)
- Bake a Big-Ass Cake Together
Baking together is a great way to remember how well you operate. Find a recipe that seems way too advanced. Buy the ingredients. Listen to music. Get too much flour everywhere.
- Have a Pizza Night
Sure, you can order pizza. But what we’re talking about is making it from scratch: prep the dough, make a good sauce, plan out your toppings. It’s a fun way to connect and feed yourselves. Toss that dough in the air. Fire it in a hot oven. Get messy. Get creative. We have some great pizza-making advice from modern dough-maestro Ken Forkish. And if you want to take it outside, here’s a great recipe for grilled pizza.
- Plan a Vacation
Planning sounds like work, and it is. But it’s the fun type of shared work that enables you to talk about the places you want to see and stay in, the activities you want to do, the general vibe you want to experience. What’s more, giving yourselves a point on the horizon to look forward to has a ripple effect that does wonders for your happiness.
- Listen to Music Together
When was the last time you sat down with your spouse and listened to music that didn’t feature, say, a pint-sized shark or ice-wielding princess? We’re guessing it’s been a while. In any case, sitting together and listening to an album in its entirety is a great way to relax and focus on a piece of work, track-by-track, the way it was intended. Try it. Decide on an album. Listen. Talk about it afterwards. Chances are, there’ll be a lot to say.
- Take an Exercise Class
There’s a vast amount of virtual classes available online, which makes it easy to schedule one together. Ease of setup aside, exercise is an excellent way to bond ( stress relief, those sweet endorphins) and, if you’re both into working out, it gives you a chance to try a class your partner loves and vice versa.
- Order a Big Fancy Desert
When was the last time you shared a fancy dessert together? And no, we’re not talking about going to town on a shared gallon of Turkey Hill while watching Netflix. We mean finding something to share and savor and look forward to on a random Thursday because why the hell not? The best part about this is the anticipation, so talk about what kind of desert you want beforehand. Maybe Tiramisu from that little Italian place you used to go to that had the great corner booth? See, you’re getting into the moment already.
- Have a DIY Drinks and Art Night
Who says crafts are only for the kids? Grab a bottle or two of wine and some cheap canvases. Set up some paints. Give yourselves a theme and a time limit (at least an hour), and enjoy the creative exercise. Quietly working side by side is a great way to relax and focus on a shared activity that’s not on a screen.
- Push Some Buttons
Video games provide a great arena for date nights. We think the best are casually competitive. Mario Kart and Mario Party are always fun. Overcooked, where you work together to prep and serve soups, burgers, and more to guests in increasingly complex restaurant scenarios, is another excellent choice — although it can lead to a lot of yelling (“I thought you were washing the plates!”). Find a few that hit the right button for the both of you.
- Read to One Another
Do you have a book of poems you love? A short story? A graphic novel? Each of you choose one and then plan a date night to read it aloud and talk about it. Sure, it sounds cheesy. And maybe it is. But why not give it a shot? Be open to listening to your partner’s selection, even if you might not jibe with it. It’s a fun date night, as you each share something you love with someone you love (always a plus).
- Shake Up Some Cocktails
Love a well made old fashioned or a properly poured layered cocktail? Why not try and recreate a favorite at home? For a date night, have each person attempt to make a cocktail they think the other will love. Sure you may have to skimp on a few ultra fancy ingredients you find in recipes, but it’s a fun exercise in crafting something special for someone — and having a nice drink in the process.
- Do Some Puzzling
Let’s not overthink this: Whether complicated or crazy easy, puzzles are a fun at-home date night activity, no screens involved. Will you probably snipe at one another about who can’t find a corner piece? Yeah maybe. But isn’t that the fun of it? Here’s a selection of puzzles to check out.