14 Valentine's Dates to Do at Home if Finding Respite for Your Child Is Not an Option


When you are a parent, Valentine’s Day can look quite different from the commercialized celebration. Finding a babysitter can be the first challenge, but when you parent kids with disabilities, finding someone to watch your kids might be an on-going need. Chances are, if finding respite is difficult in general, it won’t happen just because February 14 rolls along.

But just because a traditional date-night is not a realistic expectation, it doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Here are some creative ideas to celebrate with your Valentine:

1. Have a lunch date.

My husband and I have been doing this for years. We rarely have date-nights, but we go out for lunch instead. While kids are in school, we meet at a favorite place to eat. While we only have a limited amount of time, we are intentional about spending time together without the kids.

2. Have a bonfire.

If you live where the ground is not frozen for what feels like six months of the year (will there ever be warmth and sun again?), after the kids go to bed, start a bonfire in your back yard. Make ‘smores or share a glass of wine.

3. Have a picnic on the living room floor.

After the kids go to bed, move the furniture around, put a blanket on the floor and have sandwiches or dessert. If you have a fireplace, turn off the lights and eat by the glow of the fire.

4. Take a bath together.

Once the kids go to bed, set the stage, light some candles and take a bath together.

5. Put a puzzle together.

We haven’t done this for a while, but my husband and I used to listen to books on tape while putting a puzzle together. We like big puzzles, so this was a project we took on for a week or two. I have great memories of sitting at our basement table putting a puzzle together while listening to a Nicolas Sparks book.

6. Write down the things you hope to accomplish together.

I believe it is important for couples to dream together. So much of our conversations can center around kids, and if you have kids with disabilities you might also be discussing insurance, services, therapies and what you can or cannot afford for your child. How much time do you spend dreaming together? Take out a piece of paper and ask: where do we want to be in five years? In 10 years? What do we need to do to get there? Not only can this exercise bring you closer, it can also give you direction and connection beyond the everyday demands in life. Who knows, this could potentially give you direction in life for the better — it did for us.

7. Take-out and Netflix.

There is no reason you cannot do “dinner and a movie” at home. Once the kids go to bed, order out and watch a movie or show together wearing (or not wearing) whatever makes you feel comfortable.

8. Scavenger hunt.

Have small, fun things your partner enjoys (think candy items, written notes, a coffee drink, etc) and hide them around your house. Play hot and cold until he/she finds them all. You could also have the traditional chocolate or flowers and have clues for your partner to follow around the house until they find them. My husband did a scavenger hunt for me with Post-it notes one year. I cannot remember what the gift was, but I kept the notes. In each he wrote reasons he loved me — those notes and the fun of the game is what made it special.

9. Write a “thankful list” for your partner.

Make a list of the things that make you thankful for your partner. When you are done, read the list to each other. At first it might feel silly, but there is something powerful about speaking thankfulness to your partner. Then exchange those lists and keep them somewhere where you can read them again. Relationships are hard; it is nice to have something to refer back to and be reminded of your partner saying those words out loud to you.

10. Have a dance party.

Push the furniture to the side and dance. Slow dance, swing dance or any type of dance. Have fun together.

11. Make out.

Remember when you were a teenager and making out was all sorts of wonderful? Do that again! You can make out in every room where there are no sleeping kids. Make out in the car. Make out by the fireplace under a blanket. Be intentional about having that physical connection.

12. Play a game together.

And for bonus points, come up with your own rules to spice things up.

13. Write a “bucket list” together.

After you write your couples bucket list, decide which item you will do next and make a plan to make it happen.

14. Sit down for a cup of decaf coffee and some dessert.

If you can’t go out for coffee, make it happen when the kids go to bed. Make it a rule not to talk about the kids and enjoy the time together.

What are some other creative ideas to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Share with us in the comments.

Getty image by Archv


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