Why parents need date night

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The all-consuming demands of parenthood mean mums and dads often don’t have enough time to care for their own relationship.

The all-consuming demands of parenthood mean mums and dads often don’t have enough time to care for their own relationship.

So while a new study has found more than three quarters of British parents feel more satisfied and happier since having children, it also revealed they have less quality time together, go on fewer date nights and say ‘I love you’ less often than before they had kids.

The research, by the family care manager care.com, found most couples only enjoy an average of one date night a month, compared to two a month before they started a family.

One in 10 parents admit it’s been six months or more since they last went out with their partner, while another one in 10 reckon it’s been so long they can’t remember their last date night.

Not surprisingly, of the nine in 10 parents who say the number of their date nights has dropped since they had kids, 57 per cent say it’s because they’re too busy, and another 56% struggle to find childcare.

But agony aunt Suzie Hayman, a trustee of the parenting charity Family Lives, warns: “It’s so important to try to make time for each other.

“When people talk about having no time, often it’s because they’re spending the time they do have doing things that aren’t important at home. Close the door on work when you come home, and remember that the people you’re living with are more important than the people on your social media network.”

Here, Hayman shares her tips for balancing your family life with your couple life...

Make a date - if childcare or money are an issue, it can be valuable to prioritise time together as a couple at home. Have a date night at home when the kids have gone to bed - with noe talk about them !

Never call yourselves mum and dad. “Once you become a parent you start thinking of yourself as a parent,” explains Hayman. “Never refer to yourselves as mum and dad - it means you stop thinking of yourselves as a couple, so you stop doing couple things and stop having that intimate link.”

Ramp up romance After starting a family, parents also admit they share fewer intimate moments and kisses, and have less romance in their relationship. But while sex is still on the menu for parents, hearts and flowers aren’t such a priority - romantic gestures drop by a quarter from once a week to three times a month after children are born, while ‘I love you’ is said just 468 times a year - 52 times less than the 520 times couples without youngsters say it to each other.

Remember why you fell in love - If couples don’t try to give some priority to their relationship, it could break down, warns Hayman.

“Cast your minds back to what it was that brought you together, what you liked about each other and what you liked doing together.”