Kid-Friendly Dates

After their respective divorces, Jamie and Joe connected at a company social event. Within minutes, they were talking about their kids. Joe had two. Jamie, three.

By Jim Sulski

oth were eager to restart their love lives. Both, however, were devoted parents. After a series of “adults-only” dates, the two decided to see if they could pull off a get-together with both families.

“I kept hearing strains from the Brady Bunch theme in
Dating with children in tow doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
my head,” Joe said. “But I was also worried it would be a disaster.”

It wasn’t, thanks to a little thoughtful planning from both Joe and Jamie. In fact, the two consider the memory of that first date with all five kids one of the most romantic get-togethers they had.

It takes a little planning
Dating with children in tow doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In fact, it can be a wonderful bridge between two dating parents, especially if the relationship is headed down a serious path.

“Watching Joe with his children truly showed me what sort of man he was,” Jamie said. “He was gentle yet firm with his children. He was the parent I would want someone to be. I fell even harder for him.”

But be prepared to plan: With custody and visitation schedules, a datebook (no pun) is essential, say dating parents.

“Sometimes it pays to make plans months in advance,” Joe said.

Romantic rendezvous
For those who are dating with children in tow, consider the following five
Pack a picnic and throw in a bottle of wine alongside the juice boxes.
romantic options:

1. Go wild
If possible, plan an event outdoors—anything from a walk in the park, a trip to the zoo or a clambake. Getting kids outdoors gives them space and gives the adults some room to breathe, hold hands and whisper sweetly in each others’ ears.

2. Plan a picnic
If it’s too cool for the beach, try another big open space—a local park. Pack a picnic and throw in a bottle of wine alongside the juice boxes. Look for places with hiking trails that will afford a bit of physical activity and even more privacy for the parents.

3. Take a field trip
An afternoon at a museum or art gallery can be enlightening and academic for children plus romantic for moms and dads. These roomy, dark places offer a few quiet corners for parents to chat alone.

4. Eat out
Try a place that’s kid-friendly but that also has music that won’t overpower the meal. Also, look for a restaurant with a gameroom that will occupy children so parents can have a quiet cocktail and an appetizer.

5. Barbecue in the backyard
Kids love the idea of making a meal outdoors, and parents can get a little hot and heavy as you help each other out around the grill. To squeeze in quiet time, arrange for a movie later in the evening.

Jim Sulski is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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