A regular date night is one of those things that most couples have heard about, they know it would benefit their relationship, they really want to do it, but they just don’t get around to doing.

Although getting out of the house on date night is always enjoyable, if you have kids, it’s not always easy to do this. But not being able to go out doesn’t have to mean you can’t have a date night — you just have to get creative!

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If you’ve been putting date night off because life keeps getting in the way, we’re here to tell you that you don’t even have to leave the house to pull off a successful date night. It’s about taking time out for the two of you to spend intentional, real and meaningful time together. To block out all the other stuff, for a night, and focus on you, no matter where you are.

So, for the times that you can’t make it out of the house, here are 10 date night ideas to try at home — your relationship (and your budget) will thank you.

1. Make a tent

This might sound a bit out there, but it’s a lovely way to spend an evening together. Use what you can to create the feeling of being in a tent — think sheets or a mosquito net hung from the ceiling. Light a fire, put some cushions on the floor, a blanket, snacks, romantic music on and just enjoy being together.

There is something about being in a cosy space together that creates a feeling of intimacy and romance.

2. Create a playlist together

Have you ever wanted to set the mood with some romantic music, but can never think of what to put on? And by the time you’ve found what you’re looking for, it’s either too late for anything to happen or you’ve killed the mood and you’re ready for bed? Well, one of our favourite date night ideas is to go through all the songs you both like to create a playlist. You can create a romantic one, a dancing one — whatever works for you.

Now, when you want to set the mood, you’ll have the music you want right at your fingertips.

Read more: How to plan the perfect date night

3. Play board games

Board games with some snacks and wine on the side is a classic at-home date night idea. As adults, we often forget to play, and while we might play board games with our children or as a family, it’s different when it’s just the two of you playing together.

Remember, the kids are in bed, so you can change the rules of the game if you like. You can make it as ‘naughty’ or nice as you like… it’s all up to you!

4. Get expert help

Believe it or not, there are people out there who want to help you have the best date night ever! The Love Box is the perfect ‘date night in a box’ ready for you to enjoy together. The products in the box, all natural and organic from local businesses, are chosen to help you create a special and beautiful date night. Think a steaming, rose-scented bath, a relaxing massage, a drink to share, some chocolate to nibble on, plus more beautiful things to help you relax and enjoy your time with each other.

The best part is, you don’t need to organise anything, just place your order at datenights.co.za and wait for it to come to you! 

5. Create a vision board

A vision board is a great way of visualising all the the things we want in life. While we each have our own desires, and things we want to achieve, what are your goals as a couple? What do you want to achieve together?

Get a large piece of cardboard, some old magazines, a pair of scissors, a glue stick and imagine away. Cut out pictures of things you want to do together and places you want to go together. Cut out words that have meaning for you, that you aspire to in your relationship. Don’t let things like financial constraints limit you. This is your space to dream as big as you want to.

Not only is this a fun date night idea, it’s a wonderful relationship-strengthening exercise.

6. Dance together!

So, now that you have a playlist that you’ve spent a date night putting together, spend another date night dancing the night away! The great thing about dancing together at home is that you have no other people bumping into you, no one spilling drinks on you, no music that you’ve never heard of or and no inhibitions at all! Best of all, when you’re tired, you can just go straight to bed. Perfect!

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7. Appreciate each other

If you’ve been together for a long time and have kids, you’ll probably understand how partners can start to take each other for granted. Amidst the chaos of life and trying to keep everything together, we often forget to say a simple ‘thank you’ to each other for the things that get done.

When we feel taken for granted, unacknowledged and unappreciated, this can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness in a relationship. One of the best date night ideas is to write down all the things you appreciate about each other and take turns reading them out loud. It’s amazing what happens when we focus on all the ‘right’ things our partners are doing as opposed to the ‘wrong’ ones.

8. Cook a delicious meal

Although there might be one person who usually cooks in your home, turn dinner into date night by cooking something together. Add a touch of the unexpected by choosing something you’ve never made before.

If the dish comes from another country, you can also set the table according to that theme and create an experience around it. Try to let go of having to cook the perfect meal and rather try to savour the moment of experiencing and creating something new together. 

9. Make a ‘Date Night Jar’

One of the reasons that people don’t go on regular date nights is that they can never think of what they want to do. They leave it too late and end up either not going out or going to the same old restaurant over and over again. That’s when date nights can become uninspiring!

Half the fun of date nights is going to different places, trying new things and discovering interesting ideas together. This does take time and planning ahead. And this is where the date night jar comes in. Spend a date night at home coming up with more date night ideas. Talk about what kind of things you’d like to do, restaurants you’d like to try and write it all down. Do your research together, then write all your ideas on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. When you’re not sure what to do, just pick an idea from the jar and you’re sorted! 

10. Just BE together

Life gets busy!. The saying ‘like two passing ships in the night’ describes many relationships out there. That’s why date nights are so important — they help us to consciously make time for each other. And sometimes, what we really need to do is just BE with each other.

Turn off or put away all devices. Turn the lights off, light candles, lie on the couch together, in bed together, or outside on a hammock. Wherever you choose to lie, just BE with each other. Enjoy the stillness, the quiet, the moment of just being and not doing. Enjoy each other and the moment of being together.

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