Stay Connected with "At Home" Dates 

By: Naomi Brower, USU Extension professor

Finding time together as a couple is an important aspect of maintaining a strong and healthy relationship. Couples with children often struggle to have the time or energy to reconnect as often as they would like. Extra challenges exist with the current pandemic, such as conditions in communities that limit access to go “out” on a date. While challenging to find the time, couples can do many fun activities at home to reconnect, especially after the kids are asleep. In order to make “at home” dates successful, follow these three tips:  

Keep it simple. Going on a date with your sweetheart is about connecting with each other. Activities do not need to be elaborate or require a lot of time or energy. Even 20 minutes of uninterrupted quality time can boost a relationship. 

Make a plan. Because staying at home makes it easier to fall into the normal routine rather than having a date night, plan what you will do and when. This will also help you know what you might need to do or buy to prepare for your date. Be sure to take turns choosing the activity (complaints on either side can spoil the fun).   

Focus on each other. Once again, because you are at home, you risk getting distracted by housework, electronics, etc. Commit to focus only on your spouse and the activity together for the timeframe planned. Where possible, connect through conversation throughout the date, especially about personal thoughts and feelings (not just about the kids).

Ideas for “at home” date nights:

  1. Star gaze. Set up a blanket in the backyard and enjoy looking at the stars. For bonus points, get a star map and try to identify constellations.
  2. Walk in your partner’s shoes for an evening. Swap your normal “duties” for the night to try to understand life from your partner’s perspective. After the kids go to bed, discuss your experience.
  3. Look through old photo albums and reminisce together. If you feel really energetic, make it a time to put loose photos into albums or delete out-of-focus and duplicate digital files. 
  4. Have a fondue party. Dip your favorite veggies, fruits, or snack foods in cheese or chocolate. Yum!
  5. Curl up for an evening of reading. Find a book you both enjoy and take turns reading to each other. 
  6. Go dancing. Find an online dance instruction video and turn your living room into a ballroom.
  7. If it’s not too chilly in your area, set up a tent and camp out in your backyard. Or, as an alternative, light up a fire or barbeque and snuggle up together while roasting marshmallows. A gas stove or microwave can also work in a pinch. 
  8. Go gourmet. If you can find them at the store, sample a few types of cheese you haven’t tried before with crackers, bread, or fruit and critique each one. Or, if store selection is limited, get creative with combining foods you have at home. 
  9. Cozy up on a blanket in front of a fireplace and have a picnic or treat. No fireplace? You can improvise with a bunch of candles grouped together. 
  10. Watch a classic romantic movie or funny videos on YouTube. Make a fluffy bed out of pillows and cushions on the floor for a fun change. 
  11. Play board games or card games. For a fun twist, decide on a service or treat the winner will receive. 
  12. Get sweet. Have an ice cream sundae bar, experiment with creating your own smoothie recipes, or have a chocolate tasting night. Get creative with the ingredients you can find at home.
  13. Have an at-home spa night. Light some candles and give each other a massage, take a bubble bath, or if you are feeling adventurous, treat each other to a pedicure or facial. 
  14. Create a dream board. Cut out and paste pictures or make a list of places you want to visit or fun things you would like to do together in the future. Plan to make one of them happen. 
  15. Get active. Try a new exercise video together or take a stroll around the outside of the house to get some fresh air.