My friend, Jamie, has four boys. They range in age from kindergarten to fourth grade. The kindergarteners are twins. And Jamie is a preschool teacher. If anyone needs a date night every week, it’s this woman. And if anyone knows how to do date night right, it’s this woman.
Jamie let me in on this super awesome thing she calls her “Date Night Co-op.” She and three other families got together and decided to rotate homes every Saturday night. So, the first Saturdays of the month, all the kids went to one family’s house. The second Saturday of the month, all the kids went to another family’s house… and so on. By the time the month is over, each family has had to keep all the kids one Saturday night a month and, in return, has gotten three Saturday date nights!
Conveniently for me, Jamie’s co-op came to a natural end at the end of last year. I swooped right in and found one other family to join and now we have a co-op of our own! We are only three families, instead of four, which is kind of nice because it gives us a weekend off a month. It built some flexibility into our planning and allowed us to move around which Saturdays worked best for everyone.
Our families all got together a few weekends ago and the dads and kids swam while the moms worked out the scheduling for the rest of the year. It was pretty quick and easy to get the schedule nailed down. Then, we chose the time frame. Jamie’s former group met when the kids were a little younger, so they went from 5:00-9:00pm. Our kids are getting a little older now, so we bumped it back to 6:00-10:00. This would also allow enough time for a couple to have a quick dinner and catch the 7:00 movie.
We also laid down a few ground rules for all the kids. For example, no one is allowed to go into rooms where the doors are closed. We also talked about allergies, food preferences, swimming abilities, and likes/dislikes. On your hosting Saturday, you are responsible for feeding the kids, so we went through what everyone would or would not eat (it was pretty basic – pizza, mac n cheese, hot dogs, etc.). Since we live in Florida and you can pretty much swim almost year round, most of our Saturday nights with the kids will start with swimming, then pizza, and then a movie and treats.
I’m so excited about this! We have our first co-op date night in two weeks and I am already planning what Chris and I are going to do with our free time. Jamie said it is really nice to have this time during the holidays for things like Christmas shopping and other errands and tasks that are better done without the kids. That sounds like a really responsible way to use this precious time. But instead, we’re going to get milkshakes from The Shake Shack and then go see a stupid humor movie at the theater. Cause we adult hardcore.
(Fun fact: All of these pictures are taken with the families we are co-opping with. They are all from the beach and all from separate trips, too! We must spend too much time at the beach!)