How does the idea of a monthly date with your significant other without paying a babysitter sound? If you’re like me and don’t have access to grandparents or family members for built-in childcare, this concept may be a game changer.
Since our kiddos came along, date nights have been few and far between for us. First, because it was tough to find babysitters we were comfortable leaving our kids with, especially when we had a new baby and a toddler. But then once we found some great sitters, we didn’t always want to spend the money to pay them and go out for a night on the town. We usually saved it for special occasions, which would always be way more expensive because we’d splurge since we hadn’t been out in months.
We’d often comment that we don’t need fancy dinners for every date, we’d love the chance to just try a new restaurant or even run to Home Depot to browse and brainstorm future house projects. Then one day a good friend of mine was making the same kind of comments. She and her husband love going to the movies and didn’t want to hire a sitter just to get out for a couple of hours.
That’s when we decided to start a babysitting swap.
And like I said, it’s been a game-changer for our marriage. The swap isn’t intended for fancy nights on the town, instead daytime dates for a few hours. Just enough time to get away and connect with your spouse before going back to reality. It’s amazing to me how just a few hours of guaranteed one on one time each month has prompted us to make each other more of a priority every day.
There are a lot of ways to make something like this work for you, depending on schedules. But here’s how we do our babysitting swap:
Each couple gets one date a month. Sometimes we split the weekend, one on Saturday the other on Sunday. Or we spread it out. Our kids are still young so we’re pretty flexible at this point. I can call her up and say, “We need a break! Will tomorrow work?” We then drop our kids at the other person’s house and head out for 2-4 hours.
We usually work around nap schedules, so really it’s just a play date for the kids. And the beauty of it is while her kids are at my house, I actually get a ton done because they play so well together! The first time we swapped, my husband said, “We are doing them (our friends) a favor? They have the harder job in my opinion, keeping track of our curious one-year-old!”
If a babysitting swap is something that you want to try, my biggest recommendation would be to agree on scheduling just to guarantee every couple gets their date. Then start planning what you want to do and watch what that guaranteed time together does for you as a couple.