Having a toddler is a crazy time for most parents. Kids at this age are increasingly mobile, but still need constant supervision to ensure that they’re safe. For many couples, this means they spend all their time and energy on their little one, leaving little left for each other. This isn’t doing anything for your marriage, however. Married couples who make the time to have fun with each other strengthen their bond, according to Dr. Steve Stephens, author of “Blueprints for a Solid Marriage.” Put some fun back in your marriage and you’ll all benefit.
No, spontaneity isn’t that common for parents of toddlers. You can’t just up and decide you want to have dinner in the next town or hit the latest movie preview at the last minute. Careful planning is required if you want to do fun things with your spouse. Choose a standing date, suggests Stephens. This might be the last Friday of the month or every Tuesday afternoon. Find a permanent babysitter to take care of your toddler. Keep your fun night on the calendar so that neither of you forget. It might only be one day -- but knowing you have something fun coming -- builds anticipation and gives you both something to plan and to look forward to participating in together.
Fun Couple Ideas
If dinner and a movie is your standard date night out, widen your options. Experiencing new things with your spouse strengthens your bond and gives you a range of fun things to enjoy together. Try a cooking class, take up ballroom dancing or make it your mission to bike every trail in a 20-mile radius. This time you spend without your toddler shows her that you value your marital relationship and that it’s important to the survival of your family, according to family psychologist, John Rosemond, as quoted in the CNN.com article, "How to Save Your Marriage From Your Kids." Making the commitment to have fun with your partner benefits the entire family.
Fun Family Ideas
Just because you have a toddler doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when your little guy is around. In addition to making it a point to spend time alone as a couple, fun family times are equally as valuable. Have fun as a family unit by going to the park and watching your little one play on the playground. Listen to music at home and dance with your toddler and your spouse. Hold family story time and take turns reading to your toddler. You don’t want to make everything into a family fun event because alone time is important, but creating a fun atmosphere at home helps you build the bond with your spouse even in the midst of the toddler chaos.
If you, like many parents of toddlers, find your plans being ruined from time to time, it can be a blow to both you and your spouse to cancel your fun plans. To ensure that you still get the time you need and crave, have a back-up plan in case your toddler gets sick or the sitter cancels. Rent a movie to watch after your toddler goes to bed or sit out on your patio and catch up over nachos and beer. Drag out the board games and play the ones you enjoyed during your dating years. Order dinner and have a picnic in the backyard.