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    20 Date Night Ideas For Parents

    Date nights are all about enjoying each other’s company.  In the beginning, couples are often so excited to do things together that date is just a formal excuse to see each other.  After marriage and kids, date night takes on a new meaning.  They become a chance to reconnect with just the two of you as a couple and do fun things together. They are no longer about getting to know each other as much as they are about getting to have fun together.  As a parent, it is important to set aside date nights in order to make sure you don’t lose the magic that started everything in the first place. I hope you enjoy these date night ideas for married couples.

    The Parent’s Guide To A Successful Date Night

    Kids change your marriage, that’s a fact. Most married folks know and embrace this, seeing the introduction of new life into the world as a more than valid reason to cut back on things like nights out drinking, frivolous purchases, sleeping past seven in the morning… and date night.

    You’re a parent. You love your kids. And you love your spouse.

    But don’t you miss your date nights?

    Don’t feel bad about screaming, “Yes!” right now, whether it’s inside your head or out loud in the driveway, with the windows of the minivan rolled up.

    You’re an adult. You need a little romance, some kickback time, and the company of other adults. Not only are you allowed; you’re required. Date nights are actually super important to keeping a happy marriage. A romantic evening helps recharge your batteries and fill your love tank.

    The Importance of Date Night to Parents

    Whether you have an eighteen-month-old or an eighteen-year-old, there’s always an excuse to not take a night off and spend time with your spouse. The baby has been fussy all week; I couldn’t inflict him on a babysitter. The teenager’s been acting out all week; I couldn’t possibly trust her alone in the house for a night. But let’s face it. You should prioritize yourself and your marriage. You need a healthy adult relationship, and that means protecting the sanctity of date night.

    As busy parents, it is too easy to grow apart.  You know what they say about an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  So, go ahead, have fun on a date night with your partner and don’t feel guilty about. Feel good about it!

    When To Schedule A Date Night For Parents

    Believe it or not, the time when date night feels the least possible is the best time to make it happen. If the kids are sick, work is busy, your kitchen remodel isn’t going as planned, or any other of life’s countless, unexpected bumps in the road has you thinking, “I can’t possibly afford a night off,” remember you can.

    More importantly, you need to.

    When life gets stressful, we tend to convince ourselves that everything is life-and-death, forcing our attention and energy to be consumed by even the tiniest issues in front of us. So, if you’re feeling like life’s too crazy for a break, you’re probably just too stressed out to realize that life is just being life, and a break is exactly what you need.

    Besides that sage advice, set a regular date night too.  At least once a month, everyone can and should make that happen- even married couples.

    Date Night Ideas For Married Couples

    After being married for years, it is easy to get in a rut. Take turns planning out date nights and surprise each other sometimes. Having a regular date night helps ensure that it actually happens and that you don’t let other things get in the way. Always turn off your app notifications on your cell phones for date night and ignore anything that isn’t the babysitter.

    Try Doing New Things

    Try doing new things for your date night that you have either never done before or not in years. Only you can keep things from getting stale! Step out of your lazy, comfort zone and try something new and exciting. Make new memories and enjoy a change of scenery.

    Try going to a golfing range together. Maybe one of you can lean in and teach the other a few good moves… I mean swings.

    Try visiting some tourist attraction in the area that you have never been to since you aren’t a tourist!

    Try a new restaurant or exotic cuisine.

    Get out in nature together. Go for a hike or an canoeing trip.

    Arrange to go horseback riding.

    Take a dance lesson together.

    Do a movie night at the big screen in an actual movie theater.

    Enjoy an evening stargazing.

    Try a spa day and get a couples massage.

    Picnic in the park. Enjoy an afternoon or evening lounging on the grass at your local park and tantalizing your tastebuds.

    Go on a double date. When was the last time you did that? It could be a lot of fun if it has been a long time since you have done it. You could even use a little creativity and pick a funky venue and go roller skating or bowling!

    My husband and I enjoying an evening on the back porch together.

    Date Night Ideas During Quarantine

    Don’t take this easy out too often, but date night at home may be a fun way to ease into date night ideas for married couples. Sometimes a dinner reservation might be hard get (especially during a pandemic) so there’s no rule against hiring a babysitter or using a baby monitor and staying in. Home date night ideas are a great way to enjoy some quality time to connect when you can’t get out. The important thing is make sure you two still get some alone time.

    A candlelit dinner with a glass of wine while the kids are asleep, playing with the babysitter, or watching TV upstairs can be just as romantic as an expensive Italian restaurant—not to mention cheaper, and healthier. The meal can be homemade or takeout as you both prefer and I know I prefer.

    Play board games together (like Monopoly or Trival Pursuit) and make up a few of your own rules about what happens when you land on certain squares!

    Recreate your favorite coffee or ice cream shop at home. Make a huge ice cream sundae with all the toppings together and eat it together too. Don’t forget to feed each the first and last bites! Have fun trying to recreate some fancy coffee drinks or your favorite beverage if that is more your thing than sweets. The idea is to have fun making something you both enjoy and then have fun enjoying it together.

    Grab a bottle of wine and swap stories. Remember when you first met? Tell each other the details you remember about the other person. Remember when you first kissed? Share how you felt. Share some of your favorite memories of trips you took together or things you did together. Dream about fun things to do together in the future.

    Play cards together (strip poker could spice things up after a few friendly rounds of cards).

    Make a scavenger hunt for your partner. Give them a clue that helps them find another clue that helps them find another until finally, they get a reward for all their hard effort!

    Cook together. Slow down, relax, and enjoy cooking, working together, and tasting what each is making.

    Garden together. Planting flowers together can be a lot of fun and then you can think of the fun you had with your honey every time you look at your nicely landscaped beds. Plus, you may need to go clean up together after working in the dirt!

    Go on a virtual date. There are lots of museums with virtual tours so this is the perfect time for you and your sweetie to see those works of art together or discuss history and science.

    Try a Date Night Box subscription. There are some companies like, Crated With Love, that take all the work out preparing for date night and deliver curated fun. It’s an easy way to have fun after a long day.

    Date Night Can Help Keep The Spark Alive

    Take a look at your spouse; you’re still just as wild about each other as you were when you got married, right? You still make each other laugh, still support each other through stressful times, and still want to be the first person each other sees in the morning and the last they see at night. So why aren’t you putting the same effort into your marriage now that you’re parents, as you did when you were newlyweds?

    It’s a scary thought, but many couples end up drifting apart once their kids are grown and out of the house, realizing that years of what they thought was happy, healthy marriage, was just collaborative child-rearing. Getting too comfortable might not be a good thing if you start taking each other for granted.

    You need to ensure that you’re both parents and romantic partners. Kids will never be “in the way,” but you’re likely using them as a mental block to stop yourself from indulging in some well-deserved adult time. That is why regular date nights are so helpful to putting the emphasis back on the two of you.

    Make a point to take a half hour before bedtime to spend time with your spouse, either talking in bed before turning the lights off or sipping a glass of wine on the back porch as the sun goes down. Communication is essential to staying connected to your spouse and each feeling seen and heard.

    Adding a little moment of romance to your daily routine will make carving a few hours for date night to go see a movie or cook a romantic meal together feel more natural—and essential—to your relationship.

    It is all about staying connected and not taking each other for granted. Your partner is special and they need to know you still feel that way. Take the time to show each other through regular date nights for married couples.

    If you are already overdue for a date night, consider taking a day trip together or even an overnight trip so you can catch up on some romantic couple time! Then you may be hungry for more date nights after that.

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    What It Means to be Family Oriented

    Family first seems to be a motto for many, but do they really mean it? What does it mean to put your family first and be family oriented? We all want more time with our families and we want to be there for the special moments as well as the family night dinners, but work and other life commitments can make that a challenge sometimes. Why is being family oriented important anyway? Here I will answer those questions and address those challenges. I will talk about the meaning of being a family oriented person, why it is important, and how to become more centered around your family.
    What Is Family Oriented?

    What does it mean to be family oriented? Simply put, a person who’s family oriented never loses sight of the importance of their family. Yes, other commitments may take them away at times, but they always focus on maintaining a strong presence in their family.
    What is another way of saying family oriented? Synonyms are family based, family focused, and family centered. By any name, it refers to someone who has their family at the heart of all that they do and all of the decisions that they make. It is someone who considers the well being of the family as a unit and thinks about maintaining that.

    Why Is Being Family Focused Important?
    A family oriented man or woman goes further than just being present for special occasions and important moments, they are mentally and emotionally present as well. It is in this way that we maintain our family bonds that hold us together.
    Making sure you’re home for your child’s birthday party won’t mean anything if you spend the whole party on the phone talking about work. Instead, it means putting the phone away so that you can focus on your child and their happiness during the party.
    Being family centered is important because there are so many distractions in this modern world and if we don’t make a true effort to protect the thing that is most important to us, family, it can be lost. A loving family is not a given. It takes effort to maintain it. Growing anything takes work and consistency, especially children! Love is a verb. We have to make connecting to our spouse and our children a priority.

    This quote illustrates the point that we must actively care for what we love.

    “Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
    ― John Lennon

    5 Ways to Be A More Family Oriented Person
    How do you become family oriented? Being a more family oriented person may seem like a challenge in your busy life, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple choices can bring you and your family closer together.
    1. Be There for The Important Moments
    You may not make every daytime school event or every baseball game, but do your best to schedule the important moments, like the school play or the baseball playoff game. Be there for the ones that really matter. And if you promise to make it to something, keep your promise; it shows your child that you love them and you’re committed to their happiness.
    2. Schedule Family Time
    Plan regular family time every week. Choose a night when everyone’s home and make it game night or pizza night or movie night. Or change your family time theme every week. It doesn’t matter what you do only that you do it together. Turn off the electronic devices and connect with each other face-to-face for some quality time. 
    3. Show Your Love
    Your family doesn’t need you to buy them a lot of gifts or clear an entire day every week for them, they just want to know that they’re loved, appreciated, and important. Leave a note of encouragement for your child on a day when they have a big test. Make hot chocolate and snuggle on the couch when your child has had a bad day. And don’t forget words and actions of love for your spouse.
    4. Be an Active Listener
    You know that feeling when you’re trying to tell someone something important and they’re clearly not listening? Don’t be that listener. Give your family your attention when they talk to you. Put the phone down, turn down the volume on the TV, and give them your full attention. Make eye contact, ask relevant questions, and engage them in conversation. Being a good listener for 5 minutes is more important than being a distracted listener for 30. Let your family be the center of your world for at least a few minutes each day!
    5. Practice Self-Care
    A little time to yourself may seem counteractive to your goal of being family oriented, but it’s not. A little time to yourself to decompress and unwind allows you to be more present for the people you love. Don’t forget to take care of your own needs so that you can take care of the people you love.
    Don’t take family for granted. It is a sure fire way to create distance from those you love. Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” I would add to that, it is easier to care for your spouse each day, than repair a broken marriage. So start today and put your family at the center of your heart. Know they are important and they happiness and well-being are tied to your own happiness and well-being.
    Being family oriented doesn’t mean spending every waking moment of every day with your family. All you really need to do is regularly prioritize family time and make the time you spend together matter.
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    The Pros And Cons of Preschool

    Recent reports have emerged that preschool may not be as important to academic achievement as once was thought. These same studies report that the children who benefit from preschool the most are those from affluent families; these being the families that can afford the top, private preschools. Does this mean that generations of children went to school sooner than necessary? Though the answer to that question depends largely on which side of the fence you stand, don’t write off preschool just yet. There is also research that shows life long benefits of attending preschool. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of preschool.
    What Are The Main Pros And Cons of Preschool?

    Preschool is also sometimes called nursery school, pre-primary school, or play school. It is early childhood education for children before they begin compulsory kindergarten. There are both private and public preschools. It depends on the area where you live whether or not preschool is available as a public option and sometimes it is only available as a public option to those meeting certain conditions. Preschool age is typically considered to be from 2 ½ to 4 ½ years old.
    I went to a private Montessori preschool myself and I loved it. I still cherish the freedom and exploration of my time there.  They encouraged so much creativity with awesome, fun, artistic projects. To me, there was no question that it was enjoyable. However, not all the preschools are the same so let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons of preschool.
    Is Preschool Beneficial? A Look At The Pros Of Preschool
    1. Preschool Socialization Benefits
    According to Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell School of Medicine in New York City, preschool can be a place where young children develop strong social skills. Children in preschool learn how to share, how to play nicely with others and how to compromise. These important skills are carried throughout our lifetimes.
    2. Improved Language And Math Skills
    It stands to reason that the more children speak, the stronger their language skills will become. Children aged three and four are developing these important skills at a rapid rate. By surrounding your child with their peers and adults outside of your social circle, his language skills will blossom. Additionally, the more people that your child has contact with during these formative years, the wider his knowledge base becomes.
    As Learning Policy Institute says, “LPI’s researchers found that investments in quality preschool programs bolster student success. Students who attend preschool programs are more prepared for school and are less likely to be identified as having special needs or to be held back in elementary school than children who did not attend preschool. Studies also show clear positive effects on children’s early literacy and mathematics skills.”
    3. Improved Life Long Outcomes
    W. Steven Barnett, Founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University says reasearch shows, “people who attend preschool are more productive in school, work, and society generally—with higher levels of education and earnings, less involvement in delinquency and crime, and fewer chronic health problems.”
    Conclusion on Benefits Of Preschool
    Clearly, the pros of preschool to the child are tremendous. In the short term, kids get a leg up socially and academically. This does not mean that a child who does not attend preschool will unable to catch up, however, it is an advantage of preschool. In the long term, preschool has some serious life advantages such as higher earnings. What this research says to me is that there are many important pros to preschool. If it is available in your area, it is a great option. If it is not available in your area or in your price range, you can still accomplish many of these benefits through homeschool preschool and organized group play and learning sessions. Of course, that option does require more of the parents time.
    In my area, preschool was only available to those with special needs, low income, or in the gifted program. Check with your area and express your concerns, they may be able to work things out for you.

    The Possible Cons of Preschool
    Not every child is ready to leave the nest quite so early, even if it’s only for a few hours. If your child has issues with separation anxiety, sending him to preschool can do more damage than good. Children who are not ready for separation can be highly distressed by the mere thought of being sent to a strange place for the day. If you are unable to leave your child for any length of time without him becoming anxious, do not make the mistake of thinking that exposure to preschool will alleviate the problem.
    If you want to go the preschool option but your child has separation anxiety, you can work with your child to make them more comfortable starting with group play dates where you are still there. You can also speak to a teacher about your concerns and or a qualified health professional for additional suggestions.
    2. Shyness
    Children who are naturally shy tend to have a more difficult time with preschool than those who are outgoing. For some children, preschool is simply too stimulating to be a comfortable environment. If your child is upset by loud noises, is easily frightened or does not enjoy playing in groups, preschool may not be the immediate answer. You can work with your child to address issues of overstimulation.
    Conclusion on Pros Of Preschool
    It seems that there really aren’t very many disadvantages of preschool unless you have concerns that your child is just not ready for separation or stimulation. Under these circumstances, it is a good idea to address the best way to help your child progress past those with a qualified professional.
    The largest disadvantage of preschool that I can see is that it may cost money in area if there is no public program. Be sure to inquire about the options that exist for preschool because even in areas without preschool available for all children, there is often still public preschool for those that meet certain conditions such as income or special need markers.
    If you choose not to do preschool for your child, you can still teach your child the language and math basics at home. You can also work on his or her social skills by taking them to public places where they can interact with other children like parks and public play dates. Story hours at your local library are also a great way to introduce them to a class atmosphere.
    Research Preschools
    If you think that preschool is right for your child, it’s important to understand that not all preschools are created equally. Do your research before selecting a preschool for your child when you have the choice of several. Look for a center that is able to meet your expectations and one that is suitable for the level of your child’s development. Preschool should be an enjoyable place for your child where he learns how to be social and how to learn; preschool should not be a place of stress for either you or your child.
    Saying that preschool is right or wrong for every child is a far-reaching generalization. Whether or not preschool is right or wrong is an individual decision that every parent must make for her child. There are lots of positives of preschool in the right scenario. However, it is possible for there to be disadvantages of preschool so trust your gut and do your research on if it is the right opportunity for your child.
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    Tired of Being the Maid? Try A Family Cleaning Schedule

    Ever feel more like a maid than a parent? To change your family’s attitude toward cleaning and give yourself a break, try implementing a family cleaning schedule. It is time to get everyone to do their fair share. Additionally, I share 6 useful tips for raising a tidy family. 
    You go from room to room, cleaning up after your kids and making the house look nice, and by the time you’re done they’ve messed it up again. Many parents make the mistake of doing all the household chores themselves, either because they want them done a certain way or because they are tired of battles with the kids. However, this can leave you feeling worn out and unappreciated. What’s worse? It can leave your children with a sense of entitlement. That is why you will love using a handy dandy family cleaning schedule so everyone is on board helping out.
    Family Cleaning Schedule

    A family cleaning schedule is just what you need to make sure everyone pitches in to get the job done. It is a good idea to customize the family cleaning schedule to suit your family. You may be a super tidy mom and feel it is important to do daily cleaning tasks. Or you may be more like me. Everyone pick up after yourself as you go, this includes a daily clean in the kitchen, and everything else can wait till the weekend!
    How To Make A Family Cleaning Schedule
    First, make a list of the cleaning tasks.
    Which cleaning tasks do you consider essential on a daily basis and on a weekly basis? Write them all down.
    Second, assign tasks.
    Then you can assign tasks to suit the age of the family members or you can allow each family member to pick tasks. You set the rules such as each family member will do 5 tasks each week (for example). Have them place their initials by the task when it is complete. First come, first serve for tasks or as assigned.
    Third, set the deadline.
    You set the timeline. Decide whether cleaning items can be done any time throughout the week or if they need to all be done a group clean up time.
    To make things as easy as possible for you, I have included my family cleaning schedule template for you. Here is the weekly cleaning schedule printable pdf.

    You can try out our free printable family cleaning schedule template and make adjustments as needed. Having a checklist cleaning schedule helps make expectations clear as well as providing accountability. I suggest having each family member use their initials by the check mark space so that you can see if anyone is having to carry too much of the cleaning load.
    Tips For Raising A Tidy Family

    Don’t worry about being a perfectionist. Trying to keep things pristine will just stress you out and cause your kids to dread cleanup time. At some point, good enough is good enough. Focus more on establishing habits and positive feelings toward cleaning than on making everything look perfect.
    Make Cleaning Fun
    A huge part of the success of chore time is the attitude you take. First, find a different name for it. “Chore Time” sounds boring and hard; use a more neutral word (like “Cleanup Time”) or create a fun, unique name.  When you break out the family cleaning schedule, play music and stay positive.
    To raise a tidy family, associate cleanup time with cleaning games, music, and fun. Turn on some upbeat music and dance while you put clothes and books away. Strap Swiffer pads onto your children’s feet and let them “skate” around the kitchen to clean the floor. Tell kids that the toys are snakes or sharks and they have to wrestle them back to their spots. The more fun children have, the less whining you’ll hear and the happier everyone will be.
    Use Positive Reinforcement
    No, I am not talking about rewards. I am talking about positive framing and kind words. To ease the transition from nagging your kids to watching them clean on their own, help them recognize the positive feelings associated with cleaning. When you all finish cleaning up, point out how much better the house feels. If you ingrain a sense of happiness associated with a clean space, kids will start to notice and dislike untidiness. Good feelings are a powerful motivator, and eventually most kids will tidy up without being asked.  Notice their tidy habits and praise them for being responsible.
    Keep Chores Short
    Dragging out cleaning time is a sure way to make kids grumpy and resistant. To keep young children happy and get the job done fast, turn cleaning into a competition. Set a timer and see who can pick up the most in 5 minutes. Or challenge younger kids to see who can pick up the most blue items, the most red, the biggest ones, etc. in a certain amount of time. When kids see that they can have fun and quickly move to the next activity, they’ll put up less of a fight.
    Allow older kids to do some cleaning now and some later if they find that helps them to work better. Stress that they can do their items off the family cleaning schedule when they please, as long as they get them done by the deadline you set.
    Work As A Team
    Kids should definitely learn to clean up their own messes and not treat mom or dad as a maid service. But kids aren’t born knowing how to clean! Cheerfully pitch in and clean together as you teach your children how to do things properly. Not only will your kids be learning how to clean better, it will be more fun for them as they get used to the cleaning process. Raising a tidy family is doesn’t happen without you you sometimes showing them how as you clean together.
    Organize And Declutter
    This is one of the most important tips for raising a tidy family: organize and de-clutter!  The fewer items you have to put away, the easier the family cleaning schedule will be to complete. Go through your child’s room with him and get rid of any toys and clothes he hasn’t used in the last 6 months. Establish a habit of going through your kids’ stuff every few months. Make sure everything you keep has a place.
    Teach your kids the “one-in-one-out” rule: every time a toy comes in the house, one goes out. This will keep clutter to a minimum and make the next organizing session much smoother. Plus, kids might think twice about asking for a new toy if they know they’ll have to get rid of one.
    Lead By Example
    Kids learn as much or more by your example than from the things you say. So do your best to be an example of tidiness. Keep your space neat, avoid complaining about cleaning, and pick up after yourself before moving on to the next activity.
    Attempting all of these strategies at once may be intimidating and frustrating. Instead, incorporate these cleaning tips into your family routine one at a time, and soon cleaning time won’t be such a chore and you will find raising a tidy family very rewarding. Be sure to introduce the family cleaning schedule and customize it to fit your family.  Feel free to share your tips for raising a tidy family in the comments!
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