Absolutely. API's principle of Striving for Balance in Personal and Family Life is aimed at reminding parents about the importance of meeting their needs as a couple. Even before you're ready for that initial separation, parents can establish and build a relationship with someone who can serve as a regular babysitter. When the baby and parents are ready for a separation, the caregiver will be trusted, familiar and comfortable so that the parents have the best chance of enjoying their time together without excessive worry about the separation.
Parents might agree to work together and support each other in discussing what they each feel they need and prioritize, both as a couple and as parents. Agreeing to each remain abreast of child developmental information can provide basic information about child needs. Knowledge of a child's unique needs and preferences provides a more complete picture of the child's needs. Mutual support provides a greater possibility that most needs are met most of the time.
Tips for Date Nights/ Couple Time:
- If you are not ready to leave baby yet, schedule a date for a normal sleepy time, and go out somewhere adult-friendly with baby. If you want to enjoy a nice restaurant try going early in the evening, right when they open, to avoid crowds.
- Hire a babysitter or mother's helper to come over and watch the baby in your own home while you and your spouse watch a movie together or spend some quality time doing something you enjoy.
- Instead of a date night that may overlap with bedtime, try going out for breakfast or a mid-day date. You can hit a matinee and save some money, too.
- If it's your first time away, plan a short trip away; even just a walk around the block can be a great place to start.
- Date after the kids are in bed: plan a special candlelit dinner for two, followed by a game or movie.
- In advance of your date, it can be helpful to discuss with your partner the level and frequency of contact you'd like from the caregiver and the circumstances that you would agree to return home early. When you agree, discuss this with the caregiver. Some parents might be most comfortable with a check-in every 15 minutes, getting regular texts and even pictures of their happy children, while other parents may be comfortable with contact only in cases of emergency.