Surviving Marriage without Date Nights

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My dad managed our local movie theater when I was a kid – movies were a big part of my life then and they still hold a special place in my heart.  As cliche as it may be, my perfect date night is dinner and a movie.  With four wonderful children, however, date nights are few and far between.

The price of a date night grows exponentially when you factor in childcare for multiple children.  When I asked local moms how much they paid for “date night” sitters the range was from $10-15/hour per child – and even if I cut dinner out of our plans we’d need a solid 3+ hours of baby sitting to see a movie which could run me over $100 for babysitting services alone.  Who can afford that?!

So, how do we survive marriage without date nights?

UNPLUG

My husband is a gamer and I am a social media addict.  For a while we were in a rut where we would sit on our opposite couches with something random on the television, each pressing keys on our laptops until it was time for bed.  Now, we limit our computer time to about an hour.  It’s not a firm limit for us because as a self-employed entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom, sometimes I HAVE to be on the computer to get work done or meet a deadline… but we do our very best to work smarter, and stick to our limits.

PLUG IN

Every single night after unplugging from our computers we watch TV together.  We are Netflix lovers – so we are typically binge-watching a series, but sometimes we throw in a movie from Netflix or the Redbox.  I will admit that the shows we watch now are mostly up his alley – but over the course of our marriage I have learned to love a lot of “his” shows.  Right now we’re in the middle of Gotham and recently caught up on Arrow and The Flash.  I already have our next series picked out: Fuller House (yup, that’s one of my picks)!   Having a show we both look forward to and enjoy not only gives us something to look forward to each night, but it gives us something different to talk about too.

BE HONEST

If you are at a point where you need a break – whether that means a solo trip to the grocery store or someone else cooking dinner – be honest with yourself and your husband.  My husband and I don’t get date nights, but we do allow each other to take a break when it’s needed.  It’s important to remember that you can not take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.

SWAP-A-SITTER

Another great idea is to find another family in the same boat that you are and set up a sitter swap.  Maybe once a month or every other week… come up with a plan that works for both of you and alternate watching all the kids so that each couple gets some alone time to watch a movie or take a nap!

 

I’d love to hear the ways that your marriage thrives without traditional date nights – or even the ways in which you keep the spark alive between date nights.  

 

Top 40 Questions to Ask Daycare, Preschool or Private School

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[huge_it_share]Finding the right day care, preschool or private school setting for you and your child can be a challenge – especially if you are in a new area or completing a search for the first time.  I researched and listened to recommendations of local moms, to compile this list of questions to ask your child’s prospective school choices. Before you visit the school, read through the questions and think about which are most important to you and what answers you’d like to hear. That will help to give you a starting point to narrow down your search and zero in on the school that is the best fit for your family.

Top 40 Questions to Ask Day Care, Preschool and Private School

Curriculum

  • Do they follow a specific educational philosophy?
  • Do they have a curriculum?
  • Is there a schedule?
  • What will the children learn?
  • How do they account for different learning styles/flexibility for children with special needs?
  • Do they incorporate music, art, and/or foreign language into their curriculum?
  • Will the children get recess/physical activity time to develop gross & fine motor skills?

Classroom Policies

  • Do children nap regularly?
  • How do they handle discipline?
  • Is potty-training required and if not: how do they handle potty training?
  • What are the illness policies?

Teachers/Staff

  • How many kids are in a class or session?
  • What is the teacher to student ratio?
  • What is the educational background and experience of the teachers and staff?
  • What is the turnover rate with your teachers?
  • Are teachers and staff certified in CPR and/or First Aid?
  • Are all staff background checked?

Meals/Snacks

  • Are meals and snacks provided?
  • Can they accommodate kids with special diets/allergies?
  • Can children bring their own meals?

Extracurricular

  • Do they offer field trips?
  • Do they invite community organizations/guest speakers into the classroom?
  • Do they offer any parent workshops?
  • Are there family-friendly special events hosted throughout the year?

Transportation

  • Do they provide transportation?
  • Do they offer field trips, and if so, how is transportation handled (consider the need for car seats)?

Parent Involvement

  • Can parents come into the classroom?
  • Are parents expected to help in class, and how often?
  • Are parents expected to take on “roles” for the school like fundraising/cleaning crew/etc.
  • Are there committees or board meetings you may attend and/or consider joining?

Communication

  • What forms of communication do they utilize?
  • How will parents be notified of problems/concerns?
  • Will there be opportunities for parent/teacher conferences?
  • Is there a newsletter sent periodically from the school? or the classroom?

Financial Needs

  • Are scholarships available for those who cannot afford full tuition?
  • Does the school offer part-time rates for those who do not need full-time care?

Security

  • How many entrance/exit points are there?
  • How are exits secured and monitored?
  • Is the playground fenced?
  • What additional security measures are in place?
  • Will the school provide references?

There is a lot you can learn from speaking to parents with students currently at the school. If you are able to do so, you will want to have some different questions ready to ask seasoned parents. Consider asking:

  • What do you like the least and the most about the program?
  • How is communication is handled?
  • How does your child like the school?

Remember that “the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.” Ask anything and everything you can think of with confidence, knowing what an important decision this is for you and your child. Tour the schools you are most interested in and pay special attention to how you and your child feel during the tour. Knowing what questions to ask is comforting and empowering as you make your decision, but the information you obtain from listening to your own instincts and observing your child should be key to your final decision.

 

Do you have any questions you like to ask that I missed?  Share them with me in the comments!