Once you have kids, long gone are the days of impulsive date nights that stretch late into the wee hours of the next morning. Not to mention that babysitters are hard to come by and are expensive, too. If you’re stuck at home this Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas that don’t require a sitter.


Treat the whole family

If you are going to be home with your children on Valentine’s Day, why not involve them in your celebration? Michelle, mum of four, found an inexpensive chocolate fountain at a store one year, and it became the centerpiece of one of their most memorable Valentine’s Days at home with kids.  Heart-shaped pizzas work great too.  It’s different and kids love making pizzas!


Order your favourite takeaway

Put the pizza menus away and order grown-up food from your favourite restaurant, serve it on the good china, and watch your favourite movie on Netflix. (Wait until your kids are tucked into bed, of course!)

Mandate an early bedtime

Make the kids a quick and easy dinner, like a box of macaroni and cheese, read them a few books, and send them off to their rooms to go to sleep. That way you can still spend most of the evening alone with your significant other. What you do after they fall asleep, well, that is entirely up to you.


Load up the whole gang for a night out

If you’re up for the adventure, don’t let your lack of a sitter keep you from getting out of the house for the holiday. While you might (and should!) think twice about dragging your kids to a steakhouse for a candlelit dinner, there are plenty cute Valentine’s Day date ideas that are casual enough to enjoy with your entire family. When her two kids were younger, Claire Lynn and her husband started taking them along for dinner and a night at the drive-in. It became a tradition for her family, and even though her kids are older, they still spend Valentine’s Day together as a family at the drive-in theatre.


Start the day with a family breakfast

A nice family breakfast out is a great alternative to going out in the evening for parents of young kids because you won’t have to worry that your little one will disturb couples looking to have a romantic dinner, it’s less expensive, and no reservations are required. Or try a fun breakfast at home like strawberry waffles or heart-shaped pancakes and be sure to involve the whole family in the cooking.


Pick a theme

Take dinner and a movie to the next level by picking a theme for the whole night. Rachel, mum of three, made a red dinner including spaghetti sauce, red drinks, red jello, and red cookies one year when she and her hubby couldn’t get out.  You can also pick your movie and plan the whole night around your choice, dining on food inspired by the location of the movie or eating a meal seen in the movie at some point.