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How to Plan a Home Datenight (No Babysitter Needed)

Looking back on my life before having kids, I realized that every night back then would be considered a “datenight" based on our current standards. Every meal we ate lacked a 4 year old making fart noises, a 2 year old spilling his milk, and a baby crying in the highchair. We were able to talk and enjoy each other’s company without any interruption, and having a few drinks with our meal was no big deal with nobody to take care of afterwards. Now, leaving the house for a datenight without the kids is a process involving time, money, and hassle. We rarely would go out alone together.

In all reality, datenight does not necessarily need to be a night out of the house without the kids. After overhearing that Allison was having a special datenight with her husband at home, I thought to myself “what is stopping me from doing the same?” With some careful planning, I figured I could set everything up so that my husband and I would have an enjoyable evening even with the kids present.

The Planning Stage

Pick a convenient night and pick meals. You must have an easy meal to feed your children ahead of time and you need a nice meal for you and your spouse. I usually opt for boxed mac’n’cheese (a treat in our house) for the kids and steak or salmon for my husband and I as we do not normally share such a luxurious meal with the kids anyways. You may also want to shoot for having the house tidied before starting your date night, so advanced planning to do extra cleaning will be required for the perfect date night.

Decide whether or not you want this to be a surprise. More often than not, I do not tell my husband that I am planning a special night. It is so much fun to see him walk in the door after work to a clean house, candle burning, and a glass of wine on the table… with the kids preoccupied and quiet.

The Day of the Datenight

Step 1: Prep your kids first thing in the morning. Tell them you and their father will be having a date night, and that they will be having a special movie night. The more you hype your kids up for this and make it special for them, the more likely they are to leave you alone when you are trying to enjoy your meal with your husband.

Step 2: Make a solid attempt to have the house as tidy as possible. Both you and your husband will appreciate a clean home. This will allow you to relax the night away knowing that you have no chores to complete after dinner.

Step 3: Pretty yourself up. I rarely throw on some makeup or a dress, but it changes the whole mood for me when I do. I know my husband finds me pretty without any of that, but I know he is a pleased man when he sees me put an effort into looking good for him.

Step 4: Feed and bathe your kids early. You want to get as much of their typical bedtime routine out of the way as possible, to free up as much of your night with your spouse as you can. I bathe my kids in the early afternoon, put them in their pajamas, and then feed them an early dinner. Continue to hype the kids up for their special movie night.

Step 5: Prepare the date night dinner, and make it a good one. Salad and/or an appetizer to start, and a nice chunk of meat with some vegetables and mashed potatoes is usually what I make. For time’s sake, I am usually starting the date night dinner as I am feeding my kids mac’n’cheese. It is important to clean as you go to avoid having a ton of dishes to wash after dinner.

Step 6: Sit the kids down for their movie and instruct them to stay. Our dining area is within sight of the couch, so while I am doing my final prep work I can keep an eye on them to make sure that they are still seated. You may also want to prepare them a special snack to enjoy during their movie to keep them even more preoccupied.

Step 7: Await the arrival of your date, and enjoy your food and whatever time you get while the kids are distracted by their movie. After dinner, clean up and get the kids to bed at a decent time so you can resume your evening together with your husband. You two can decide what happens next.


I have been on the recieving end of a well-executed home date night and can tell you it is well worth the extra effort. I’m going to brag a bit on my husband here. He made me an excellent steak dinner after work one night AND the house was tidy, candle lit, and kids happily distracted. My husband is an impressive man.

After dropping the notion that we need a night out of the house without our kids to have a good time, I have been planning regular home datenights. There is something incredibly refreshing about spending more time together on a more frequent basis. Plus, my kids are genuinely excited that they get a special meal and a movie night. All around, I have a happy house on datenight.

Drop any home datenight suggestions in the comments below!


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