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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Why Naptime and TV Are Parents’ Best Friends

By Jill Morgenstern

Some parents have nearby family or grandparents ready and waiting to whisk off the kids so Mom and Dad can luxuriate in the quiet of a child-free home for a weekend. Others of us are not so lucky. But with a little creativity, each of us can get that much needed time with a significant other, even without hiring a babysitter. Here are some dos and don’ts for sneaking in a few moments alone together:

Do try to spend time together while the kids are at activities. A parent doesn’t need to watch each and every soccer practice or ballet class. Most parents have taken this time for an occasional quick trip to the grocery store or other errand anyway. Why not spend a little of that time with your spouse?

Don’t forget to pick up your child!

Do use TV for a babysitter, but use it judiciously. Most children watch some TV each week. Why not take advantage of that? Try to save your child’s TV time for when both you and your spouse will be home together.

Don’t leave your child unattended in front of the TV for more than six hours. The skipped meals may be cause for concern.

Do hit the gym. Many gyms offer free childcare as part of their services. Take them up on it and meet your spouse for a game of basketball, a weight-lifting session, or an aerobics class.

Don’t hide out in the locker room reading a magazine. Just kidding! You can hide out if you want. After all, you’ve already paid the gym membership.

Do reinstate nap time. Even children too old to nap can take advantage of a scheduled rest time. Engage the same routine as you do at bedtime. Then let your children know that it’s fine to play quietly in their rooms as long as they only come out for a trip to the bathroom.

Don’t forget to let them know when they can come out of the bedroom.

Do try to meet your spouse for lunch. If your children are school-age, a lunch date is the perfect opportunity to grab a few quick moments together.

Don’t abandon preschoolers or infants in favor of a lunch date. Soon they will be in school and this option will be yours for the taking.

Do enjoy an early breakfast together on the weekend. If you’re not too sleep deprived, try waking up extra early one weekend morning and indulging in a child-free breakfast.

Don’t make too much noise. Some children seem to have a sixth sense about when their parents awaken, and even tiptoeing around the kitchen might set off their ESP.
By following these simple tips, you too can gain some alone time with your spouse. Be sure to follow only the dos and not the don’ts to create a healthy environment for your marriage. 

Freelance writer Jill Morgenstern is a mother of four and has 13 years of experience as a teacher. Find her at