I’m not personally a massive fan of Valentine’s Day.

I don’t like the idea of sitting in a restaurant on Valentine’s Day surrounded by red roses, overpriced menus and other couples feeling under pressure to have a romantic evening. It makes me feel like a bit of a sucker.

But even if you’re not a believer, it’s always good to have an excuse to spend a little time on your grown up relationships, particularly if you have small kids in tow, grabbing all the available attention.

Going out or staying in, here are a few Valentine’s Day date night ideas that are totally doable for couple with a young family.

Going Out –


It might sound like a bit of a cliché, but the cinema has a lot going for it as a date night option for parents. Firstly, you don’t have to talk much, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll have nothing to talk about apart from the kids. You also have to turn your phone off, so you won’t be tempted to check for messages from the babysitter every five minutes.

Smuggle in mini bottles of wine and sit in the back row or, for extra romance points, find a drive in cinema and snog in your car, Grease style.

Roller disco

I’ve never been to a roller disco, but it my mind it’s the kind of place where you can skate away your troubles and pretend to be 14 again. You’ll probably have a perm and be wearing leg warmers, plus there are chips and milkshakes. (In my head.)

When you have small children everything can feel a bit ‘adulty’ sometimes, so it’s good to do something that lets you be a child for a while.

Alphabet dating

Okay, so you probably can’t do the whole alphabet in one night, but you can make a start. The idea, as you’ve probably guessed, is to work your way through the alphabet, so for Valentine’s Day perhaps you’ll go to an aquarium and then to eat burritos and drink Cosmopolitans. You get the idea. The nice thing about this one is that it takes you outside your comfort zone and forces you to do things that you might not normally consider.

Dinner with a difference

I don’t know about you, but I always found dinners a little tricky when I was a parent of young children. More often than not we’d find ourselves talking about the kids or naggin each other about forgetting to put the bins out, and it really wasn’t very romantic at all.

To avoid this, how about going on a first dinner date? One of you has to choose and book the restaurant on their own and you get ready and turn up separately, just as if it was a first date. Once you’re there, you have to pretend like it’s the first time you’ve ever met.

Not only to you avoid all the tedious family talk, but you get to reconnect with your partner, finding out all over again about the things they love.

Staying In –

Learn a new skill

Learning something new together can be a fantastic bonding experience and doing something creative can be a good way to rediscover your own passions at the same time as breaking the cycle of dozy evenings in front of the television.

You could have a go at something low key like origami, perhaps cook up a complicated recipe that you’ve never tried before or, if you fancy something a little more intimate, how about trying out some couples yoga moves?
Indoor glamping

Initially I was going to just suggest an indoor picnic here and then I thought what the hell, let’s go for it! Do you remember how much fun it was as a child to build a den? Why should kids have all of that excitement?

For indoor glamping you’ll need plenty of duvets and pillows and ideally some kind of tent structure – sheets over dining chairs will do but I’ll leave that bit up to you. You’ll need to ban electricity and phones and instead get cosy with snacks and games by candlelight.

Who needs a yurt?!

Take a trip down memory lane

Do you ever feel a bit like you’re in a bubble? Normal life is going on around you and there you are, in this exclusive new parent world, unable to remember a time when you could go to the toilet on your own?

Although your time together as a couple pre-children may feel like a million miles away, that special relationship is still there, and sometimes it’s nice to make an effort to remember it. Get out all your old photo albums, video clips, Facebook photos – whatever memories you have of you as a couple – and spend an evening reminiscing and remembering what it was about each other that made you fall in love in the first place.

To make this idea extra fun, why not make some new memories too? It’s so easy to make videos nowadays – how about making a short film of you both talking about exactly what you love about each other and about your hopes and dreams for the future? If nothing else it will give you something to watch when you’re stuck for ideas on Valentine’s Day next year.

Do you have any special Valentine’s Day plans or rituals as a couple? How important do you think it is to make the effort with things like Valentine’s Day?