5 ways parents can celebrate Valentine’s Day without going broke (or falling asleep)

Remember those romantic Valentine’s Day plans when you were just dating? How they were filled with romantic surprises, elaborate plans, and over-the-top gestures?

And then you had kids. Suddenly the ability to land a babysitter on Valentine’s Day (and pay for one!), find a reservation at a place you like, and come up with the energy to stay out past 8 p.m. all seem like way too much work to tell your partner that yes, you really do love them and appreciate them.

If any of these thoughts have ever run through your mind, here are some ways to still celebrate your love without breaking the bank or requiring too much orchestrating.

1. Serve up a special dinner after the kids are in bed. Order in pizza for your little ones, and once bedtime rolls around, serve a real grown-up meal for you and your honey, complete with appetizers (nothing is easier to prep than a simple cheese plate), entrée, and dessert. Open some bubbly, light some candles, have some music in the background, and for once enjoy a civilized meal and conversation without any interruptions or temper tantrums!

2. If that even sounds like too much work, just go all out on dessert. Imagine your partner’s surprise when you present him or her with a smorgasbord of special desserts once the kids are asleep. Think chocolate-covered strawberries, gelato, or cannoli. If you are coffee lovers, buy a really good brand ahead of time and brew it up to serve with your yummy snacks.

3. Do something other than dinner as a couple. Sometimes the time it takes to get all fancy combined with the cost of a babysitter and an expensive restaurant tab make going out seem not worth it. But think outside the box: what if you kept it casual and did brunch instead? Or went on a hike or had a picnic in a park? These are still just as special without all the prep and the cost.

4. Think small gestures. If you aren’t able to make it out this Valentine’s Day, don’t despair. You can still make the day special and show your partner that you love them. Take over a chore they can’t stand, sneak little love notes around the house, or offer a free foot rub. These little gestures are just as meaningful as a big night out.

5. Write a letter. This may sound cheesy but so often in the hustle and bustle of the days that involve parenting small children, we can forget to thank our partners for what they do. Take the time to write a letter to your partner, letting them know what you appreciate about them and why you are so glad they are your Valentine—today and every day.


How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day with your partner? Tell us in the comments!

Read More Blogs

About Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, Medical Director, Pregnancy

Dr. Jennifer Lincoln is a board-certified generalist obstetrician/gynecologist and attending physician in Portland, Oregon. She primarily works on labor and delivery has recently been certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.


  1. My favorite is the dessert option- Valentines Day is a great excuse to go all out!

  2. These are great! I love the ‘Day Date’ option. Less expensive, less tiring and just as much fun. Plus, it’s easier to ask friends or relatives for a quick two hours babysitting during the day then on a Saturday night.
    PS Don’t forget to include your children on your list of Valentines! They want a sweet letter too!


Tell us who you are! We use your name to make your comments, emails, and notifications more personal.

Tell us who you are! We use your name to make your comments, emails, and notifications more personal.