Valentine’s Day ideas with a difference for busy parents

I’m not going to insult you with a nice polite list of date night ideas that involve sitting on a blanket in your back yard and watching old movies. Why? Because when you type ‘date night ideas’ into Google, you get 104 million results. Yep. I’m going to assume you know how to google already, so let’s drill down into this a little bit deeper.

Valentine’s Day is a funny one, isn’t it? Like Halloween, some of us embrace it with open arms. Some of us (mostly husbands, I think, just quietly) write it off as a commercial day invented by Hallmark or Disney or the FBI to bleed us dry. And sure, maybe that’s true, but fuck it, people – why don’t we embrace every opportunity to tell someone we love how we feel? That costs us nothing, and it makes someone feel special. Who is the loser here?

I’m all about the cheesy, cheesy love on Valentine’s Day. It hurts nobody and it’s fun. And now that we have kids, sure, we don’t get to do the candlelit dinner for two at a swanky restaurant, but if I was honest I’d say I was never into that. This night, of all nights, it’s hard to get a booking, the restaurant is always super busy and the wait staff are all pissed off that they’re feeding you instead of shoving chocolate coated strawberries down the gullet of their beloved. Oh, and the set menus always suck.


So let’s plan something delightful and doable if there are children running around in your house, okay? You can do some or all of the following.

  1. Wake up early and watch the sun rise together. Hopefully the kids won’t be up for an hour or so, and you can share a quiet moment with a cup of tea and your beloved. When is the last time you had some serene time with just the two of you?
  2. Drop the kids off (if they’re in school/daycare) and go for a beautiful breakfast somewhere flash. Order waffles or pancakes or eggs benny and several coffees. Start work an hour or so late – the world won’t end.
  3. Organise a fun love-themed dinner that the kids can get involved in. My 10-year-old came up with the idea of having chicken schnitzel this year because they are heart-shaped. Cute! Yep, crumbed chicken be the food of love. I’ll accompany it with an Asian slaw or something to keep it reasonably light. No falling asleep straight after dinner! And we’re going to make heart-shaped meringue baskets and fill them with home-made raspberry ice cream for dessert. Probably with some chocolate. Love requires chocolate.
  4. Spend the evening planning your next holiday. We all love something to look forward to, and whether it’s next month or next year (please don’t make it next year!), it’s fun to dream about getting away together. Even if the kids have to come too.
  5. Write your partner a love poem. The worse it is, the better, I promise. I mean, if you’re a great poet, sure, go with that. But if you’re not, make it lame and funny. Be specific, mention memories you’ve made together, and rhyme them with words that really don’t fit. It doesn’t matter. I promise, your love will be impressed, or at least amused.
  6. Turn the lounge room into a disco with the kids. Put together a playlist of your cheesiest love songs and get down to those bad tunes! This has the added benefit of wearing the kids out so they will hit the hay with few complaints when the slow dance music comes on.
  7. Jump on the trampoline. Wait till the kids have gone to bed, and then jump to your heart’s content. (I’m assuming your pelvic floor is up to this gig – only you can make that decision!) Remember how fun that is and how free it feels? Hold hands. Show off and do some tricks if you haven’t had too many glasses of champagne, but don’t end up in the emergency room. That has to be the fastest way to kill the romance.
  8. Ask each other questions you haven’t asked since you first started dating. I guarantee, the answers will have changed. What are their five favourite books of all time? What food would they take to a desert island? What is their defining childhood memory? There is nothing more flattering or attractive than someone who is interested in you, don’t you think?
  9. Flirt throughout the day/night. Let’s make it clear early that this evening is going to end well. I have a friend that ensures she always give her husband a blow job for Valentine’s Day. For another, it’s a guaranteed reverse cowgirl. Whatever it is, knowing it is on the table and anticipating the moment is almost as exciting as the act itself. So whatever you crazy kids are into, put it out there early. Send a text during the day. Whisper it in your partner’s ear when they’re leaving for work. Spell it out in peas if your kids can’t read yet (but please, if they can, save on the therapy bill and find another way!). And then make sure you follow through.
  10. Download one of our cute A5 printable messages (see below), print on some nice paper, personalise with a message on the back and hey presto, a gorgeous mini poster for your loverrrrr. Or for extra brownie points, whack it in a frame!

Champagne Cartel’s A5 Valentine’s Day Printables

Version #1: Simple heart and message – download the printable PDF here: PrintableValentineMessageA5

The quote is from Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen. Published in 1811 but still meaningful today. This is the small thumbnail file and and won’t be big enough to print, click on the link for the printable version.


Version #2: Vintage bunny and message – download the printable PDF here: PrintableValentineMessageA5Bunny

The quote is from Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen. Published in 1811 but still meaningful today. This is the small thumbnail file and and won’t be big enough to print, click on the link for the printable version.





Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What do you usually do?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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