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How many hours a week would you leave your kids home alone?


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DH and I are in terrible need of reconnecting. Our kids are 14, 10 and 8. The oldest babysits every so often. What seems reasonable, 2, 3 or 4 date nights? DH really wants his wife back.

You mean how many hours per date night? Or 2, 3 or 4 date nights a week?

 

It depends upon your 14 year old and on how well the younger ones listen. When mine was 14, we could go out all evening. They got along fine and were not the kind of kids that did stupid things in the house.

 

Nothing ever happened.

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I'm sorry....for clarification. I meant how many hours per week. Example, 4 date nights would consume 12 - 16 hours, 2 date nights 6 - 8 hours and so on.

 

I think 4 nights a week would be a bit...excessive. Once a week at the most would seem appropriate to me. After all, my number one job is to raise my children, not date my husband.

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If you are talking about 2, 3, or 4 date nights-- I would start with one date every single week. A real date. 2-4 hours. Whatever covers an activity you want to do. Maybe you could take turns planning dates. I think 4 nights out of the house every week is too far the other way (IMHO). I would do two nights a week for special occasions, but I don't see how we would have family time if we had two nights every week out on a date (factoring in kids activities.)

 

But, can you also start sending the kids to their room at night 30 minutes earlier? Or even let them watch tv in another room for an hour, a few nights a week, while you and dh watch your own show or something? My dh misses watching tv with me, so that's where that idea comes from.

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I think 4 nights a week would be a bit...excessive. Once a week at the most would seem appropriate to me. After all, my number one job is to raise my children, not date my husband.

 

Me too. I know, my number one job has been to raise my children too. But, we need to date again, for the health of our marriage. I'm trying to find a balance.

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I would say 1 date night a week. However, we are so busy that I am not sure we could do more than that anyhow. Do you need more nights out for smaller amounts of time or more time with less time out? I know during the summer we would put the kids to bed and than walk around the block. It was nice.

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Me too. I know, my number one job has been to raise my children too. But, we need to date again, for the health of our marriage. I'm trying to find a balance.

 

I think it's really good you're doing this. My parents put children before marriage and it didn't turn out so well. I have made it a point to try to find a healthy balance but it can be hard sometimes.

 

My dds are 12 and 9 so we only go out once a week and it's actually on a weekend morning. When their 14 and 11 I could see us going out 1-2 nights a week or maybe one night and keep our weekend morning.

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I would start with 1 night a week. If need be, pay them each X amount to behave and cooperate---less than babysitter rates but a bit of incentive to cooperate with each other.

 

I also agree about sending the kids to bed earlier (even if they don't sleep) or having you and dh retire to your room after the younger 2 are in bed with a Do No Disturb sign--and lock on the door. Even if all you do is watch TV together, it can be a nice thing for dh.

 

After all, my number one job is to raise my children, not date my husband.

 

Not sure I agree with this totally. Yes, your children are a priority but if you don't make your marriage a priority the kids will suffer as well.

 

Another thing you might consider is sending the kids AWAY for an overnight or evening--to grandparents or other relatives, to friends (do a kid swap every other month or so), etc. Sometimes it is just nice to be at home alone with your spouse

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i understand for the health of your marriage that you need to reconnect. but i think more than one night a week is too much. If you are really needing that much time, i think you need to hire a babysitter and let the 14 off the hook. It's not his responsibility to watch the kids4 nights a week so you and your husband can go out.

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We always pay her for babysitting, $5.00/per hour. Also, the kids enjoy being home alone. They play together, the oldest reads The Hobbit, they play the Wii. There's never been any fighting (that they told me about). But, 4 nights a week seems alot to me also. Maybe two nights out and two nights at home "behind closed and locked doors".

Edited by txmom23
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I'm sorry....for clarification. I meant how many hours per week. Example, 4 date nights would consume 12 - 16 hours, 2 date nights 6 - 8 hours and so on.

 

I think one 4 hour date night per week is reasonable. If you need to kick things off a bit, go away for a weekend and send them to friends' homes or hire a sitter. Or if you think a few nights out for one week would help, that might be okay. BUT more than one date night per week on a regular basis seems like a bit much for your 14 year old to be responsible for, even if you pay her. And it seems like if you need more than that that you may need something other than date nights to fix things.

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I think one 4 hour date night per week is reasonable. If you need to kick things off a bit, go away for a weekend and send them to friends' homes or hire a sitter. Or if you think a few nights out for one week would help, that might be okay. BUT more than one date night per week on a regular basis seems like a bit much for your 14 year old to be responsible for, even if you pay her. And it seems like if you need more than that that you may need something other than date nights to fix things.

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

2 nights a week out AND 2 nights behind locked and closed doors....:confused:

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When I say, 2 nights behind locked and closed doors, I mean of course after family time and dinner. Say after 8:30. Does that seem ok?

 

I ask this question here because we are all in the same boat. Trying to meet the needs of a spouse and kids, without anyone feeling neglected.

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When I say, 2 nights behind locked and closed doors, I mean of course after family time and dinner. Say after 8:30. Does that seem ok?

 

I ask this question here because we are all in the same boat. Trying to meet the needs of a spouse and kids, without anyone feeling neglected.

 

Yes, I think that sounds ok! My dh and I enjoy running errands alone on Saturday morning now that the kids are older. Perhaps, something like that would work as 1 of those dates. Kill two birds with one stone.

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Kids ages 10+ routinely are alone M - Fr from school being out until 5 or 6. That's, what? At least 10 hours a week?

 

I don't believe in arbitrary numbers used to "balance" or "prioritize" between relationships. There are *seasons* in life. Parenting during the baby and toddler years is more child-centric (and often more budget stressed, btw).

 

Parenting tweens and teens is intense, but the hands on needs of parenting is much, much less and, in fact, they should be able to thrive on some autonomy.

 

Taking care of the needs of the family sometimes requires triage; what needs are the most pressing. You've identified that to be your marriage right now.

 

Enjoy your date nights, and work it out for YOUR family and situation.

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DH and I are in terrible need of reconnecting. Our kids are 14, 10 and 8. The oldest babysits every so often. What seems reasonable, 2, 3 or 4 date nights? DH really wants his wife back.

 

If you need 4 date nights/week to start, then do it. You need your marriage to be strong. I'm sure as you feel more connected you'll want to be home more. :grouphug:

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Me too. I know, my number one job has been to raise my children too. But, we need to date again, for the health of our marriage. I'm trying to find a balance.

 

The very best thing you can do for your children is keep your marriage strong and happy.

 

I guess I come at this from a different perspective, and I love and adore my children, but my primary relationship is with my husband. That is my number one job and his too.

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I think 4 nights a week would be a bit...excessive. Once a week at the most would seem appropriate to me. After all, my number one job is to raise my children, not date my husband.

 

While I do not think it is necessary to have 4 date nights a week (I don't have the time to be out that often), I disagree that my number one job is to raise my children...While child rearing is a top priority for me, my relationship with my husband comes first and will for as long as I am married...

 

ETA: I realize I didn't answer the OP's question!...Kids the ages of your kids should be fine to be at home for a few hours alone, even four nights a week...As long as they have a phone to contact you on and a plan if something were to happen...People work part time and do this regularly, surely you can go out with your husband...

Edited by TheAutumnOak
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Kids ages 10+ routinely are alone M - Fr from school being out until 5 or 6. That's, what? At least 10 hours a week?

 

I don't believe in arbitrary numbers used to "balance" or "prioritize" between relationships. There are *seasons* in life. Parenting during the baby and toddler years is more child-centric (and often more budget stressed, btw).

 

Parenting tweens and teens is intense, but the hands on needs of parenting is much, much less and, in fact, they should be able to thrive on some autonomy.

 

Taking care of the needs of the family sometimes requires triage; what needs are the most pressing. You've identified that to be your marriage right now.

 

Enjoy your date nights, and work it out for YOUR family and situation.

 

Yes this!

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When I say, 2 nights behind locked and closed doors, I mean of course after family time and dinner. Say after 8:30. Does that seem ok?

 

I ask this question here because we are all in the same boat. Trying to meet the needs of a spouse and kids, without anyone feeling neglected.

 

 

Echoing above, start with 1 consistent date night a week. For a normal date night, 4 hours is perfect. Dh and I have left dd14 for up to 8 hours when we went to a concert (4-midnight), but that's rare.

 

Dh and I have alone time every single night after 9pm. The littles go to bed at 8, dd14 at 9. So, yes, mom and dad off duty at 8:30 seems totally reasonable to me.

 

If one night out a week isn't enough, then maybe move to 2, though to *me* that would be too much. Four nights out is excessive to me.

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I think 4 nights a week would be a bit...excessive. Once a week at the most would seem appropriate to me. After all, my number one job is to raise my children, not date my husband.

 

Oh heck, I'd rather date my husband :lol:

But I do see your point. If DH and I manage ONE night a week out without the kids it is a miracle. But, we do enjoy their company so we do often plan something to do with the idea of including them. Most of our 'dating' happens after we close the bedroom door at night.

 

I would figure a 14 year old could handle the younger ones for three or four hours with no trouble.

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We always pay her for babysitting, $5.00/per hour. Also, the kids enjoy being home alone. They play together, the oldest reads The Hobbit, they play the Wii. There's never been any fighting (that they told me about). But, 4 nights a week seems alot to me also. Maybe two nights out and two nights at home "behind closed and locked doors".

 

:confused: Your post is baffling to me. I have never heard of anyone going out on date nights four nights a week, or even two nights a week and then two nights "scheduled" in the bedroom. That doesn't seem like "connecting" to me; it seems like denying the reality of children in your life.

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:confused: Your post is baffling to me. I have never heard of anyone going out on date nights four nights a week, or even two nights a week and then two nights "scheduled" in the bedroom. That doesn't seem like "connecting" to me; it seems like denying the reality of children in your life.

 

:iagree: you said that way better than I did!

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I didn't date dh 4x a week before we were married, lol!

 

I'd say one date night per week, up to about four hours. Possibly one couple's night in per week in addition, although I would likely be flexible about occasionally answering the door :001_smile:

 

If y'all are desperate for more time than that, I really think you need to kick-start things with at least a week-end away. Find an adult to leave them with, or go on a cruise or such that includes kid-camp and kid activities galore. Or trade overnights with their friends. I know it's been smooth sailing so far with your dd watching them, but I think that the relative novelty of it really helps with that. And while I know we are all working toward raising kids who are reliable, knowing that mom and dad are going to be gone several times a week, for several hours at a time, is a terrible temptation to a teen. Yes, I know that plenty of kids are routinely left alone on a daily basis, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

 

Honestly, I can't imagine having the time to 'date' 4x a week, for several hours! If we go to Lowe's or Barnes and Nobles alone, we're like, "score!" :D

 

It sounds like you have been doing about 1x a month, so changing that to even 1x a week will be a huge improvement.

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I think that's major excessive. Maybe you need counseling? We have very night when the kids go to bed to be together. Sometimes we save dinner for the two of us until then. We go out when we can maybe once a month on a date.

 

If you are in crisis mode, maybe counseling will help? You need to make your marriage strong while also being there for your kids. 4 nights does not seem balanced to me.

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I have older kids, so I understand being able to go out. DH and I can pretty much go out any evening we choose and the teens will make sure DD10 gets dinner and stays out of trouble.

 

We are not in need of reconnecting at this point, but if we were, I would make a point of going out once a week on a regular basis. As it is, we go out to dinner about once a month, but have lunch and run errands with "just us grownups" once a week.

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Why not try 1-2X/week to start and then see how you & DH are feeling, and also how the kids are responding as well? Start small and work your way up if you need to. No need to go all crazy right off the bat KWIM??

 

I did like the suggestion of getting away for a weekend or even an overnight if you can manage?? 24-48 hours may be a good kick-start??

 

I don't really have any more to add since mine are so little still.

If DH and I get out once or twice a year - we are lucky; but we have lots of our own time once they are all in bed.

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If my husband asked to spend more alone time with me I would 100% find a way to work it in. My first question to him would be, are you asking for TEA time or just us hanging out time? More TEA time would not require leaving the house or the kids home alone, that would be something to work on after bed time ;).

 

If he just wanted to hang out with me more without the kids I would work on that too. Could you have a Friday date night out alone every week, then on Sunday have the kids watch a movie and you and hubby watch another movie in a separate area of the house? Then in the middle of the week take a walk together after dinner and on another night do the grocery shopping together.

 

I would be hurt that my husband wanted to spend 4 nights a week, 4 or more hours a night away from the kids after he had worked all day. Once a week out would be heaven for me.

 

I am baffled by this too and thinking there must be something else going on:confused:

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Once or twice a week for 2-4 hours seems reasonable to me. Evenings are busy for our dc, which means we're busy providing transportation. Sometimes we'll turn carpool runs into a date if one of our olders is available to stay home with the youngest ... maybe stop for ice cream after dropping off or on the way to pick up ... or we'll do the grocery run alone together. It's time alone when we can talk. As far as a real date where we don't have anything productive to do, once every other week is what's realistic with our schedules and the kids'.

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I think that your kids are at the age where they really need a strong connected relationship to their parents. For me part of a strong marriage is doing family activities. I can't imagine even wanting to be away 4 evenings a week. I would stay with just once a week.

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We're in a weird spot right now.

 

Wolf's off on parental leave.

 

So, for us, we'll go out in the afternoon, when the Littles are having quiet time, leaving Diva to babysit, and we take Boo.

 

We try to go out after the Littles are down for the night, again w/Boo in tow, once or twice a month.

 

Once Boo is settled into a real sleep schedule, we'll start thinking about leaving him w/Diva after he's down for the night.

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Would it be possible for the kids to go to grandmas or friends houses on a weekend for an overnight stay? Could they maybe do that every other weekend? Before we had dd3, dd's 1&2 would go stay at my moms house (which is literally five minutes away) overnight every other month or so. It was great for us!

And on the weeks they are not, you guys just do your regular date night? That would give you two full evening/night/mornings a month, plus two regular dates. And the 14 year old would only be left in charge for 8 hours a month.

I hear you OP. It's a very hard balance to strike, this mothering/spouse/homeschooling thing. I've made it a point to go on a date with dh every other week. It's not much, but our kids are younger still. It's been amazing for us to have that time together, it's made us feel so much more like a team. I've also really made TeA time a priority, iykwim.:001_huh: It's really NOT something I really think about naturally, especially in this season of little sleep, lots of hands on parenting, and nursing around the clock. But I've had to make it a priority, because I know it's important to him. In turn, he's been much more observant of my needs, which makes me want to do the same for him, and so on. ;)

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I wouldn't have the energy to go out 4 nights a week and I know dh wouldn't want to that often after getting home from work either.

 

My oldest can babysit but has a very busy schedule herself so about once a month is all we can usually work out. My mother will watch them occasionally when it's a special occasion and dd isn't available (birthdays, our anniversary).

 

I think once a week, or once every other week if there isn't a compelling need to get away, is a good amount to stay connected without going overboard. The occasional weekend away is nice as well as long as you have someone you trust with your kids for that long.

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Wow, I never guessed this question would get this many replies. Thank you to everyone for your advice and opinions. I'll be honest. I have been researching some marriage counseling options and came across one that we "mostly" agreed with. It says to maintain a "romantic connection" couples need to spend at least 15 hours together with undivided attention (no kids). Now, if the couple has fallen out of "romantic love" that should be increased to 20-25 hours a week. You see now why I asked the question.

 

DH and I are open to whatever we need to do to reconnect and be happily married. We will not substitute our own common sense for that of a marriage counselor. We agree that 4 nights a week is extreme. Every marriage is different. There is only one I am concerned with right now. I can't imagine being away from the kids 4 nights a week. Date nights have been rare over the past 14 years. Our family isn't much for babysittin. We are on our own.

 

Again thank you for all the replies.

 

Also, we haven't had a weekend alone in six years!

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Wow, I never guessed this question would get this many replies. Thank you to everyone for your advice and opinions. I'll be honest. I have been researching some marriage counseling options and came across one that we "mostly" agreed with. It says to maintain a "romantic connection" couples need to spend at least 15 hours together with undivided attention (no kids). Now, if the couple has fallen out of "romantic love" that should be increased to 20-25 hours a week. You see now why I asked the question.

 

DH and I are open to whatever we need to do to reconnect and be happily married. We will not substitute our own common sense for that of a marriage counselor. We agree that 4 nights a week is extreme. Every marriage is different. There is only one I am concerned with right now. I can't imagine being away from the kids 4 nights a week. Date nights have been rare over the past 14 years. Our family isn't much for babysittin. We are on our own.

 

Again thank you for all the replies.

 

Also, we haven't had a weekend alone in six years!

 

Well, giddy' up on that one then! ;)

That will be a good start!

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