One-on-one time with your spouse is beneficial in any marriage relationship, but it takes on new importance and is particularly elusive for parents of young children.
At first glance, it seems like finding alone time is simple: Just leave the kids with a sitter for a few hours! However, for many couples, this is easier said than done.
Numerous couples rely on grandparents and other family members for babysitting services. If, like my family, you live over 1,000 miles from your nearest relatives, then this isn’t an option. You must hope a friend is willing to babysit or you have to entrust your children to a carefully vetted stranger. Another issue is having money to pay for a sitter. If you are on a tight budget, then you simply may not have money available to do this! Some couples are able to pay for a babysitter, but find themselves unable to find a qualified one who is available when needed.
What options do couples have in these situations? How can you get much-needed alone time with your spouse without a babysitter to watch your kids? Here are some helpful strategies.
How to get alone time as a couple when you have no babysitter
- Hang out while the kids are sleeping. Often the easiest way to get time with your spouse is to wait until the kids are sleeping. Though you and your spouse can’t leave the house, you can share some quality time together by sharing a bowl of ice cream as you visit, playing a board game, or whatever interests you. My husband and I are often spent once we get alone in the evening, so it sometimes works best to spend quality time together during naptime on the weekends.
- Step back while the kids are busy with an activity. Couples with older children often find it possible to explain that mommy and daddy need some alone time, get them involved in an activity, and then slip a short distance away to spend some time together. For example, you might put a movie on for the kids and then step out on your porch to enjoy coffee and dessert together.
- Share a lunch date. If your children attend a school during the day, then you might be able to meet up with your spouse for lunch. This is generally easy to do if one spouse stays home, but may take some effort if both spouses work (you’ll have to align your lunch breaks and find a suitable place to meet if you work a good distance from one another).
- Form a babysitting co-op with other parents. If you aren’t hiring a babysitter because you can’t afford one, then consider asking other parents you trust to form a babysitting co-op. This allows you to take turns watching one another’s kids for free! Come up with a schedule or coupon system that everyone can agree on to make sure that each couple is participating equally.
- Hire a mother’s helper. In situations where finding a qualified babysitter is a challenge, it can be useful to hire a “mother’s helper” (an older child/young teen who is too young to babysit, but can help watch the kids with you nearby in case you are needed). A mother’s helper can keep the kids busy playing games, coloring, etc. while you and your spouse get some one-on-one time in another part of the house.
- Go for a drive. Sometimes I really enjoy going places that require us to drive a bit because my husband and I get to sit together in the front seat without a little person squished between us! We can visit and hold hands for a good amount of time without interruption. I know we’re not truly alone (the sounds from the backseat keep us from forgetting this fact), but we feel somewhat secluded. During this season of our life, it works!
Do you find it challenging to get one-on-one time with your spouse? How do you accomplish this when you don’t have access to a babysitter?