With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, let’s talk about having date night once you’re a parent! Having a night out with your partner is such an important part of any relationship, including the one you have with your child. It’s true! Having “adult only” time can help recharge your batteries and allow you to show up as a better parent to your child. Date nights with your partner also help ramp up communication, reignite intimacy, and remind you of the people you were before you became Mom & Dad.
Date nights & nights out may look a little different now that you’re a parent, but they absolutely can & should still happen! Here are my tips for getting a babysitter, bringing your child to a gathering, and going out to dinner as a family.
Hiring a babysitter
If you want to hire a babysitter for date night, you have two options:
Option 1: Do bedtime yourself and hand the monitor off to the sitter once your child is asleep.
Option 2: Leave bedtime to the babysitter.
There is no right or wrong here, but if you are going to have someone else do bedtime, you’ll want to leave them with specific instructions for how bedtime works and the routine they should follow. It is also helpful to leave out anything they may need to make the routine run smoothly: favorite bath toys, a pair of PJs, a fresh diaper, sleep sack, and a couple bedtime books.
There is so much freedom in knowing that you can enjoy a date night without worrying about whether your child is able to fall asleep without you or has woken up 5 different times and needed resettling.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “a night out is totally impossible. My child needs me to do _____ in order to fall asleep” then that’s where you need to start. Date night is not only possible but easy when your child is an independent sleeper.
If the idea of hiring a babysitter feels like a pipe dream, I want to help you take the next step. Both Oh Baby Sleep Course & one-on-one coaching will give you a plan for helping your child become a strong sleeper and make date nights a reality!
Attending a gathering with baby in tow
If you have a family party or an evening get-together with friends, you can totally bring your child along (especially if you have a younger baby).
Instead of keeping your child up extra late and risking meltdown-city, ask your hosts if they have a spare, dark room where you can put your child down for bed. Bring along a Pack ‘n Play and all your bedtime gear, and at your child’s normal bedtime, sneak away for a brief routine. You can do a quick washcloth wipe-down in the bathroom sink, change them into PJs, offer a feeding, read a book or two, and lay them down in their temporary sleep space.
Whenever you’re ready to leave, transfer your baby to their car seat and head home. Chances are your child will sleep during the car ride. Once you get home, transfer your child into their crib. If they wake up during the transfer and seem alert, you can do the last step(s) of your bedtime routine (usually reading a book or singing a song) and then say goodnight again. The temporary interruption shouldn’t derail the entire night.
Going out to dinner as a family
If you want to bring your child on date night and won’t be home for bedtime, that’s okay too. If you can sneak in an extra afternoon nap to make being out late a little easier, even better!
Once you get home from your night out, strip down your bedtime routine to the bare bones. Skip bath and go straight to PJs, a feed, and one book. If you have an older child who may be thrown off by the change in routine, you can alert them ahead of time that you’re going to be staying out a little later and bedtime might look a little different. These fun nights out are all about memory-making!
I don’t want you to be stressed or worried about having nights out with and without baby. The best part is, if you have a great sleep schedule most of the time & if your child knows how to sleep, they are better able to be flexible with who puts them to bed, where they go to bed, and what time bedtime happens.
So enjoy date night this Valentine’s Day, and cheers to fun nights out + full nights of sleep too!