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23 Date Night Ideas with a Baby (No Babysitter Required)

Married with really young kids? New date night ideas with a baby or toddler so that you can keep dating your spouse (no babysitter needed).

Got a baby or a toddler? Then your date nights – whether at home or out on the town – look quite different than couples with older kids.

couple kissing in background with baby monitor in front, text overlay "no babysitter date night ideas with baby"

And while keeping your lovebug fed, clean, and happy is #1 on the priority list right now (as it should be)…you definitely don't want to lose what started this whole family in the first place: your relationship.

That's why I'm revealing the specific date night ideas for couples with babies that have kept our own marriage afloat, and growing.

First, let me tell you a few things about us to see if you can relate:

  1. My husband and I are madly in love.
  2. We have a 15-month-old.
  3. We don't spend money on a regular babysitter.

Getting dressed up and going out – the go-to date night, pre-baby – is just not in the cards for us.

So, we've had to get creative. So creative, in fact, that we came up with three different types of date nights (that I daresay our household could no longer function without).

Three types of date nights:

  • Couple Date Nights (where the focus is more on the two of you)
  • Family Date Nights (where everyone is involved)
  • Self-Date Nights (I mean, what relationship couldn't grow even stronger by each parent getting a little time to themselves? It's a put-on-your-own-oxygen-mask-first thing.)

Let's talk about each type of date night with tons of ideas, below.

Couple Date Night Ideas with a Baby

Date nights where it's just the two of us?

Have seriously had to be reinvented in our household.

Because let's face it: couple time sans baby or a toddler is kinda rare in this season of life.

Plus, if we were to get a babysitter and go out for the ol' movies + date night every week, it would take a mega-shark-sized bite out of our savings.

Think about it: a movie is $20 ($30-$40 if you get food, which you might because you didn't have time to scarf down dinner before running out the door), and then you'll need to pay $20-$40 for the babysitter. That's up to $80 for one night out!

Not here. Check out these cheap things to do as a couple with a baby (& date night ideas with toddlers.

1. Tiki Torch Dessert in the Backyard

three tiki torches lit, behind chairs and a table in backyard

My husband and I went on a babymoon to Cozumel, Mexico. One of the things we brought back with us (that turned out to be really helpful with a baby)?

Was the idea to turn our backyard into a bit of a romantic haven. After all, baby monitors have a good range!

We bought a collapsible picnic table and some tiki torches.

After putting our baby down, we'd bring out the baby monitor, close the back door, and meet up to eat dessert (like these make-ahead dessert shooters) by flame.

It was really a simple setup for us, and yet it completely transformed our backyard into a new place for us.

2. Couple's Workout with Built-in Childcare

author and husband working out at JCC for date night with a baby

We already have a membership to our local JCC (it's a community center with a gym, cafe, locker rooms, film festivals, and more).

They offer 90 minutes worth of childcare a day (at $91/month, talk about cheap daycare!). So once a week or so we meet up after work, drop the little guy off, and get 90 minutes of couples' workout time together (yep – that's us in that silly photo above on one of these date nights!).

In our world, that's a “date”!

Find a gym that offers childcare in your area, or near the building where one of you works, and try it out (many offer a free trial).

3. Blindfold Taste Test Date Night

Okay – you know when you're like dead-tired after a long day of babying?

This date night is for you, because the prep is super simple, and it doesn't require a lot (yet it packs a punch as far as fun goes! My husband got these so wrong, it was hilarious).

Pro tip: pick the items up while grocery shopping, and stash them for when you need to connect with your spouse but have low energy. I stashed these in our nightstand for like six months, then pulled them out one night for a pretty fun time together.

Get a blindfold, a few ingredients, and print out the free printables below. That's it!

Choose from these two:

4. Pillow Talk Time in Bed

couple smiling in bed, snuggling with cups of coffee

After Conner goes to sleep and we finish dinner, it's usually just 8 or so at night.

Sometimes we skip trying to squeeze in a show and just hang out in our bed talking and laughing and whatever else…it's a time for just us, and it's become super important in keeping our couple-dom going.

And it's rare that we spend any waking time in bed together – so this feels special to us.

Here are some free couple's conversation starters we've used:

And here's our review of the Best Conversation Starter Decks for Couples.

5. Get Lost in Your Car

couple smiling knowingly at each other, driving in a car

My father used to drive our family on Sunday afternoons to the middle of nowhere – purposefully getting lost – and then finding his way back home.

This was before GPS.

And you know what? It was awesome.

I got to thinking it's also awesome for a couple with a baby or toddler. Most toddlers/babies eventually fall asleep in the car, and so that's the time you can spend with each other just chatting while driving.

Hint: freaked out you might get lost? My husband is, too. Just remember – you can always pop your home address into your phone's directions app and you'll find your way home. So, why not just get lost for a while?

Enjoy some new sights together. Go down a road you've always meant to, but never took the time to. Bring some snacks, whatever you need to keep baby occupied, and call it a date.

Baby nods off? Maybe you two wild kids even go parking…in a safe place, of course.

6. Drop the Kiddo Off to His Grandparents + Catch a Matinee

We're lucky in that Paul's parents, while 45 minutes away, are super happy to watch him from time to time. So we can drop him off and catch an early movie just the two of us (bonus: movies in the early afternoon are cheaper!).

Bonus #2: Conner gets to develop a relationship with his Mee-Maw and Pee-Paw.

7. Catch an Astronomical Event

couple in backyard with arms around each other, watching a comet

Hello, my name is Amanda, and I almost never, ever, ever, stay up late enough to catch an astronomical event.

Most nights, you can catch me falling asleep on the couch around 8:30…(I can't believe I just admitted to that).

Then, we had our baby.

Suddenly, I was up at 1:00, or 3:00 a.m., which happens to be the perfect time to watch meteors, comets, and anything else be-boppin' in the night sky.

Use this brief time in life when you're up at all hours to make a small, middle-of-the-night date with one another.

Set up an outside area ahead of time, like with blankets, pillows, and everything you'd need to be semi-comfortable at 2:37 in the morning.

After you feed and change your baby's diaper? Get your partner up, and meet each other on the back porch to see some natural beauty in the night sky.

It'll be very memorable, I assure you.

8. Wear Baby at a Fun Exhibit

daddy wearing baby in front of ginormous Lego navy ship
Daddy kissing baby's head while wearing the baby bjorn

We found so many fun exhibits while our baby was not walking or crawling.

It was such a breath of fresh air to go to these, and have my husband be able to “wear” the baby while we held hands, caught up on the day, and experienced something new.

Like at this Lego exhibit (the Lego statues there were amazing!).

9. Take a Factory Tour

husband opening large door that says "fitting room" while wearing baby and looking at wife lovingly
inside factory photo of Yuengling factory

Again – take advantage of this time while your baby still loves to be worn or to be in a stroller pushed by the two of you, and go on a factory tour together!

You'll learn new things, have a chance to get out of the house, and there's normally a free sample at the end.

Here is us taking a Yuengling factory tour together.

10. Church Date Nights with Super-Cheap Childcare

Our church does this super cool thing where they open up their volunteers (the same awesome people who watch our little guy during Sunday's church sermons) so that Mommy and Daddy can go out on a date!

All for just $3/kid.

The last one we went on? Was to a nearby Escape Room. Talk about an engaging and fun date we'll never forget.

11. Play a Round of Couple-Opoly

Sometimes, we like to stay up and do something together. My gals over at The Dating Divas came up with this super cool Couple-Opoly (free printables) that lets us play a very personalized game while honoring our couple's history.

Talk about setting up something special for your someone special!

Psst: I've got loads of other creative date ideas to rekindle a marriage.

Family Date Night Ideas with a Baby

Ever since the little guy came along, it's been important for the three of us to reestablish what “family” means.

I mean, it used to just be us + the kitty cats. Now, there's a whole other human!

So we like to have family dates to bond and get out of our normal routine. Here are some baby-friendly date ideas.

1. Daddy Work Lunches

Daddy holding 3-month old baby while we eat lunch together on date at his work
date lunch at Daddy's work again with toddler now

Have you ever considered meeting up with each other for lunch in the middle of a work week?

We hadn't, until we had our little guy. I found a Mom's support and social group that meets up right next door to where my husband works.

Hint: since I was going to the support group, my parking was validated.

I'd go there once a week with my little one, then head on over to a gourmet cafeteria for a Daddy Work Lunch. All for under $20.

2. Game of Thrones Walks

This is what my husband came up with, and I'm a super fan.

Basically in the evening, we take the little guy out and walk down these beautifully landscaped alleyways near our home where we strategize how to take over the kingdom talk about anything.

Psst: you might also want to check out these cheap picnic date ideas.

3. Meet Up in the Museum District

author and husband smiling in front of space-themed Christmas tree in museum lobby
author's husband on top of huge marble world in front of museum for date night

Paul works right next to the zoo now, and on the first Tuesday of the month (except summer months) from 2:00-6:00 p.m. it's free here in Houston.

So, we've met up 3-4 times to check out the new gorillas, catch up with the meerkats, gaze at the jellyfish, and get in some exercise.

We also met up over the holidays to see the Christmas trees in the lobby of the Houston Museum of Natural Science (you don't need a ticket to get into the hobby, and they always have organizations decorate around 10 trees in really unique ways). I brought some egg nog and homemade cookies I baked that day!

4. Strawberry Picking

Daddy wearing baby in front, picking strawberries
Daddy with baby bjorn, snuggling baby and smiling

We used to hit up Froberg's market as a couple, so now we go there as a family. Once a year we grab our buckets and go strawberry picking together!

Then when we come home, Paul watches the little guy while I bake us some strawberry shortcake. Mmmmm.

5. Pokémon Go Hunts

I heard about Pokémon Go, of all places, on NPR. So decided we should give it a try…as a family (hey, date night ideas for married couples need not be boring!).

We haven't yet, but I'm super excited to buckle the little one into his stroller and go on long hunts along our bayou.

Psst: check out all these date night ideas!

Self Dates for Parents with Young Kids

I know, I know; this is supposed to be an article about date night ideas for married couples. Bear with me here.

Remember how I mentioned we are both introverts?

I wasn't just rambling. This has importance.

Both of us need time for ourselves. Time to refresh. Time to grow. Time to chill.

1. Workout Time

It is so refreshing to be able to drop Conner off to be watched for 90 minutes at our JCC and just work out by myself.

Doesn't happen often (because I usually use the free 90 minutes per day to work in their cafe), but when it does, it's awesome.

2. Meet-Up for Free Mandala Coloring

closeup of author's hand coloring in Mandala
author with mother-in-law and sister-in-law showing off mandala colorings

I was kinda desperate to get out of the house doing something “adult”, and found a free coloring session at the Michael's closest to my in-laws.

SO, I invited my sister-in-law and mother-in-law, and we had a grand time! It was just the most perfect and cheap way to get out of the house and talk with other ladies.

3. Reset on a Hike

I'm an explorer. One thing I've missed and have recently reincorporated into my life is going for a hike on my own.

Yes, yes, I still take Conner with me.

But he's mesmerized by the great outdoors in our jogging stroller and so it feels like I'm getting a solo hike (or as much as I can with a baby!).

4. Read at a Coffee Shop

Both Paul and I enjoy hanging out at coffee shops. Normally it's to do school work (he was in college full-time for three years and just graduated! Go, Paul!) and for me to work on my biz.

But sometimes? It's just great to read and decompress.

5. Take a Long, Hot Shower

Anyone who laughs at this has never had a newborn:). Sometimes, taking a long, hot shower is all the alone time you get. And I soak up every second of it!

6. Do a Yoga Session while Baby Naps

At the start of this year, my friend invited me on a 30-day Yoga Challenge with Adriene (free on YouTube).

Not only did I miraculously do something I've never managed to do without a baby – actually do a yoga session for 30 days in a row – but I've kept it up and have only missed around 20 days of Yoga this entire year!

Tune into one of Adriene's yoga videos for free. What an amazing way to decompress (though Conner is not always cooperative, so warning for you, Mama Bear).

Bonus Date Type #4: Money Dates

How could I not talk about Money Dates? It is crucial for the Maverick money manager in the family to meet up with other family members weekly or at least once a month to talk about finances.

You need to discuss things like changes in spending habits that affect the overall budget, ideas/hopes/dreams that need funding, investments whether or not to move them, etc.

How to add some spice to your money dates? Tack something fun onto the end of them. Money date night ideas for married couples can include things like:

  1. Spoil-Your-Spouse Night (free printables): Take turns on this one.
  2. Babysitter in a Bag: These free printables will help keep the kiddos entertained while you're talking money.
  3. Ghostbusters Date Night: Did I mention I'm a huge fan of the original Ghostbusters? So for us, it'd be super fun for my spouse to set this free date night up (*ahem*).

What kinds of date night ideas for married couples do you have to share with us below?

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Rene JS

Saturday 19th of May 2018

Ha, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, Amanda. As a mother of two and with a husband who travels, it's pretty rare that we have dinners together. So something that I recently did was to have food at home whenever he comes. The only request I make of them is to show up because family time matters. And on the way, I also save a lot because going out is not cheap these days.


Wednesday 15th of February 2017

I have never thought of having family or self dates before. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this perspective!

Amanda L Grossman

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

You are most welcome!

Jack @ Enwealthen

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

With 2 boys at 2.5y and 10m, I can completely relate. Couple-only time and alone time is very rare.

Our go-to family date is the local kid's museum. Kids love it, and part of our avoiding entitled kids via too many gifts from the relatives is that our parents give us a family membership there each year. Win-win-win.

Amanda L Grossman

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Oh my, I'm sure you double-get it, Jack:). Thanks for sharing what you guys do as family dates! That's a great idea to get memberships as gifts instead of more plastic.