No babysitter for Valentine’s Day this year? No problem! You can still have a fun and romantic evening, even with the kids. Last year, we couldn’t get a babysitter for Valentine’s Day. But we recovered, by putting the kids to work. That’s right. Putting the kids to work.
My husband and I love to cook, mostly because we love to eat great food. We rarely get the time to cook together so being forced to stay in and cook on Valentine’s Day was actually a treat. While we were cooking mushroom soup, beef tenderloin topped with blue cheese and panko bread crumbs, cauliflower au gratin, and roasted potatoes, the kids were busy. I asked my kids if they could help put together a romantic evening for Daddy and I. They took it on as a challenge and were quite creative.
First, after they ate one of their favorite dinners (Mac ‘n Cheese), they put on some nice romantic jazz music while we cooked. My daughter, the artist, spent some creating a menu for us complete with drawings of animals frolicking in the woods. You don’t get that at a fancy restaurant! She then proceeded to set the table beautifully with a tablecloth, candles, cloth napkins (ooh, Mommy, what are these?) and decorations like small glass marbles, sparkles, and flower petals. Did I mention that my daughter is an artist? And she’s 6? Her tablescape would have made Sandra Lee jealous. She learned the art of setting the table from my mother so I can take no credit. But I digress.
My son meanwhile designated himself as the waiter. He got his suit jacket out of the closet so he could look fancy. He then placed a towel over his arm and drew a snazzy, French mustache on his face to complete the transformation. When my husband and I finished cooking, he then served us using his best French accent. (Although my son is great at mimicking accents, unfortunately his only French role model is Steve Martin in the Pink Panther movie. He was disappointed that we weren‘t having Hamburgers.) He even handed me a rose from my Valentine’s Day bouquet as I sat down. Ooh la la!
While we ate, the kids quietly went and watched a movie in the family room so that we could have alone time. When we were done eating, it was time to put the kids to bed, and then we were free to do what we wanted alone.
So, how can you do something similar?
1. Decide whether you are going to cook or order in from one of your favorite restaurants. We enjoy cooking but if you don’t, treat yourself and get carry out.
2. Ask the kids to help by setting the table, dressing up as a waiter or waitress, creating a menu, and any other creative thing you can think of to create a romantic restaurant atmosphere. If your kids can play an instrument, have them serenade you. Your kids will feel special that you asked them to help create a romantic evening for Mommy and Daddy. You’ll be surprised with how much they get into it.
3. Put in a movie or turn on the Wii and let the kids amuse themselves in the other room while you enjoy a romantic dinner together.
4. Once they are in bed – watch a movie, slow dance in the family room, or um, whatever.
Optional: Share this fun with another couple by inviting them and their kids over. You’ll have a lot of little helpers and the kids will have even more fun together while you are eating.
Have any other ideas on how you can have a romantic dinner at home … with the kids? We’d love to hear them. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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© 2011 Sue Kirchner