A Father’s Guide to Valentine’s Day at Home…with Kids


Cupid’s arrow just stuck you with the kids, but you may still have options to make the most of Valentine’s Day.


Ah Valentine’s Day. A day dedicated to love, chocolate and suckering you into buying expensive stuff because you’re expected to. While jewelers and florists rejoice at Cupid’s special day, those of us who are parents of young children have a bit of a dilemma: who’s going to babysit?

If your regular babysitter is a young female with a suitor, you’re in a bit of trouble. You may think of turning to your parents, but then of course they may want to go out for the evening. And just to make things even worse, this year Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday. Ugh. Your chances of finding a sitter have just gotten worse than the Sixers shot at making the NBA playoffs.

Nothing screams romance like an evening with children, but you have some options.

Option 1: Take the kids out to dinner with you.

I did this last year. Couldn’t get a sitter and my wife said she wanted to go out so we packed the kids in the minivan to experience some candlelight dining. Of course as soon as you walk into a restaurant on Valentine’s Day with all the starry-eyed lovers, you’re going to get some looks and even a few snide remarks. The key is to just own it. This is your reality. Sure, we’re the only table ordering off the kid’s menu, but a dinner out is a dinner out. Charge up those iPhones and iPads so each child has some personal entertainment that may keep them from being overly rambunctious. You could even open that wallet and spring for a new $0.99 app to give the kids a new game to enjoy. Then you could hopefully enjoy a meal, and some sanity, with your Valentine.

Option 2: Dinner and a Movie for the Wee Ones.

Ok, so you’re not ready to venture out with little ones and you’re stuck at home. While dinner and a movie may sound like a date night, it’s actually a decent option for your kids on Valentine’s Day. Order pizza and whatever Disney cartoon or Marvel epic they haven’t seen yet. Move that coffee table in front of the TV and put down a blanket for the kids to eat dinner in front of the TV. While they’re experiencing the wonder of animation, you can then move to the dining room or kitchen to have a separate dinner with just you and your Valentine. Now I will warn you, this is a race against time. There’s zero chance the kids will not come and bother you at some point, but these are the cards you’ve been dealt.

Option 3: It’s bedtime and a late dinner.

The two words every kid hates to hear just might be your one chance at a quiet dinner with your Valentine. That’s right, it’s bedtime. Oh the sun is still out? Too bad, time for bed. Send the kids to their beds a bit earlier than usual and plan on bringing home a special dinner. Let the kids listen to music in their room, read for a little bit or whatever you need to do to get the kiddos out of your hair. If bedtime is a struggle on an ordinary night, you might be out of options, but for those who can rally and push through this might be your best (and last) resort.

To all those parents out there trying to find babysitters and make the most out of a fictitious holiday, I feel your pain. Good luck out there.


Header image courtesy of Flickr user JD Hancock

Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Aficionado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Coldwell Banker, where he oversees the brand’s marketing efforts and content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While CMO by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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