“Two is a company and three’s a crowd,” but the person who said this never tried organizing a Parent Date Night group. Because if he did, he would be saying something else entirely:
“4 is better.”
Parents should harness The Power of 4. The rule is simple. There are 4 weeks in a month and if each parent family offers 1 Date night to 3 other members, each parent couple, gets 3 date nights for volunteering one. That is 3 Date Nights. Absolutely free.
Your friends have accepted your offer and you are now a Parent Date Night Hostess – what comes next?
So, you have agreed to watch your friends’ kids and be the Date Night Host. Better plan your evening. Pizza for dinner? Some board games? Maybe a Harry Potter movie or something by Pixar? Or if you are a culinarily-inclined host, organize a cook-out with the kids and create healthy home-cooked meals for the little guests. You can even hold little arts and crafts lessons, just make sure to stock up on the Play-Doh and crayons.
Think of creative ways in which you can make this a fun night for you and the kids. Or just ask the kids – they can figure this out. Letting them participate in the decision making process, in an ordered way, can help them practice responsibility, autonomy and decision-making.
Need some inspiration? Here are You can find some ideas over here!
When parents drop off their kids, or beforehand during the group planning stage, be sure to do the following:
- Get the emergency contact numbers, phone number for the Primary Care Physician and other important details.
- Check with parents regarding any specific medical conditions the kids might have.
- Run your activity plan with them first, preferably during the planning phase. If more cautious parents prefer their kids not to engage in physical games or are uncomfortable with the action in the superhero cartoon on TV that night, it’s best to know in advance.
- Child-proof areas the children will stay in by removing sharp or breakable objects, padding the corners, covering the outlets, turning on the safesearch settings of your computer browser, etc. This depends on the kids’ age level, of course.
- Try not to have sugary sodas and sweets too late in the evening, the kids might become just a tad bit too energetic afterwards. This is especially the case on weekdays, if the kids have school in the next morning. Make sure food and beverages unsuitable for the kids are out of reach.
- Inform parents of the pick up time and whether or not, you are okay with a grace time extension.
Congratulations, you have successfully managed to host 8-10 kids as a Parent Date Night Host! What next ?
The next week, it will be one of your group member’s turn. So start planning for your own date night with your spouse. Need some inspiration? Don’t worry, these can help you when you’re Out and About: Finding Fun and Planning Date Nights!
Here are some tips on how to be a great Parent Date Night Parton:
- Bring a small gift as a token of appreciation (a spa candle, a bottle of wine).
- Opt to chip in for the pizza or food expenses.
- If your children are old enough to understand, make sure to inform them that they are guests and that they should play nice with the other kids.
- Prepare, and have your child bring, a small bag or backpack with things that might be needed or supplies the Host might not have. Extra T-shirts, their favorite toys, medication, coloring books and crayons for the class planned later that night, things like that.
- Respect the Host’s time. Drop off your kids on time and be sure to pick them up on time. If for some reason you get delayed (yes, a flat tire happens) or the plans somehow change, be sure to call the host and give a heads up.
- Ask your child how it was! See if it was fun and if he or she would like to do it again. Likewise, check up on the Host and exchange notes. Keep in touch with the others too. Get feedback from everyone – with the communication lines open you can all work together to improve the entire experience.
The Parent Date Night Group is like playing musical chairs. Soon enough, it will be your turn to watch over the kiddies. Again. Keep it up!
This arrangement with a group of 4 is not only simple and elegant, but it makes best use of your group for date nights.
If 4 is too much to take on initially start with 2 members first and expand to other groups.
Having a trusted friend watching your kids means, you don’t have to be worried and anxious. If they are a couple, then there’ll be two heads watching over the kids. It is great for the kids too. With someone trusted watching over them, they can safely mingle with each other, form playgroups that can include varied ages and socialize. So not only are the adults cooperating, the kids also develop friendships and learn social skills.
Very soon, a little community of parents and children emerges from the foundation of mutual exchange, sharing and favors. It would almost be like having an extended family.