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How to Stay Connected with "At- Home" Dates

Couple eating dinner

By Extension Professor, Naomi Brower

Taking time for regular date nights with your sweetheart is not only fun and shows that you care enough to take time for each other, but it can also help you have opportunities to communicate, rekindle the spark, and relieve stress (Wilcox & Dew, 2012). Playing together can also be therapeutic and help us break down walls and strengthen our bond with each other (Brown, 2009; Brittle, 2014). Despite all the benefits, many couples find it challenging to go “out” on dates, especially with kids at home or if money is tight, not to mention extra challenges from the current pandemic. The good news is that there are many fun activities couples can do at home to reconnect, especially after the kids are asleep. In order to make “at-home” dates successful, consider the following 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. It is easy to fall into your normal routine rather than having a date night when you stay at home, so plan what you will be doing and when and put it on your calendars. This will also help you to know what you might need to do or buy to be ready 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, it is often easy to get distracted by housework, electronics, etc. Commit to focusing only on your spouse and the activity you are doing together for the timeframe you have planned. Where possible, make an effort to connect through conversation throughout your date, especially about personal thoughts and feelings (not just about kids, household logistics, etc.).

Check out these ideas for “at-home” date nights to get you started:

  1. Go on a “vacation.” Pick a destination and choose activities, foods, etc. as if you were there. Check out this link for virtual tours of museums, zoos and theme parks goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/ or this link explore.org/livecams for live video feeds from around the world to spice up your “trip.”
  2. Create silliness together. Remember those funny fill-in-the-blank stories you probably did as a kid? They can be just as funny as an adult. Download the Mad Libs app on your electronic device (comes with some free ones) or search for Mad Libs on the internet for free printable versions. 
  3. Car date. If you want to feel like you are getting “out,” get takeout and then sit in your car by your house to eat and chat. For bonus points, get in the back seat and get cozy while chatting.
  4. 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.
  5. Try something new. Purchase an unusual fruit or vegetable neither of you have tried, research how to prepare it and then try a recipe and taste it together. Check out this website for produce recipes www.foodhero.org/recipes/healthy-recipes or search the internet for additional ideas. 
  6. Look through old photo albums and reminisce together. Discuss some of your favorite memories. 
  7. Have a fondue party. Dip your favorite veggies, fruits or snack foods in cheese or chocolate. Yum!
  8. Go dancing. Find an online dance instruction video and turn your living room into a ballroom.
  9. 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 or making s’mores. A gas stove or microwave can also work in a pinch. Roasting marshmallows in the snow can add a whole new layer of fun!
  10. 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 get creative with combining foods you have at home. 
  11. 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. 
  12. 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. 
  13. Play board games or card games. For a fun twist, decide on a service or treat that the winner will receive. 
  14. 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!
  15. 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. 
  16. Get active. Try a new exercise video together or take a stroll around the outside of the house to get some fresh air.
  17. Create a dream board of pictures or a bucket list of places you want to visit or fun things you would like to do together in the future. Figure out all the details to make one of them happen (budget, places you would visit while you are there, etc.).

Additional Resources:

Additional Resources: