If you’re like many parents I know, you think Valentine’s Day is over-rated.

“It’s for young people or single people,” you say. “It’s a commercial holiday that is just designed to get people to spend money on flowers and chocolates.”

Plus, after a day of work, school, kids activities, dinner and bedtime routines, who has time for romance?

Believe me, I know. At the end of a long week, the opportunity to sit on the couch with a good book or watch a movie sounds a lot more appealing than all the work it takes to book a sitter and plan a night out.

While the Valentine’s Day holiday itself may very well be over-rated, the date nights it encourages, especially for couples with kids, are not.

Here’s what they can provide:

1. Uninterrupted conversations.

“Hey honey, did you get my email about …”

“M-O-O-O-O-M!! Alex called me dumb!”

“Um, my email about the soccer practice Saturday and how we …”

“D-A-A-A-A-D!! Susie just took my LEGO helicopter apart!”

“Treats. We have to bring treats to the soccer practice.”

Sound familiar? Date nights provide an opportunity to actually finish a few sentences all the way through.

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2. No “to-do-list” talk.

If you’re like most parents, you never completely finish crossing off your to-do list, mostly because another task always seems to be looming around the corner.

Clean the bathroom. Fold the laundry. Send in the fee for Susie’s ballet recital.

A date night gives you a chance to distance yourself from your home (and your to-do-list) for a few hours so you can talk about more than just what else you have to do!

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3. A chance to concentrate on your spouse.

Even if you do have a chance to talk a bit during dinnertime at home, chances are you rarely have a chance to listen to your spouse.

Before you and your spouse have a chance to say two words to each other, one child might ask for more milk. Another one might spill his cheerios on the floor. And before you know it, whatever you were talking about is dropped and forgotten.

A date night gives you an opportunity to actually concentrate on your significant other and maybe even talk about topics that don’t even involve the kids!

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The upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday doesn’t require you to go out with your significant other. It just provides a special opportunity to do it. And let’s be honest – some of us need that special opportunity to push us out the door.

So take advantage of it. Time and communication are key to any relationship, and vital especially to those that last.

It's OK to spend uninterrupted time with the person you share your family with.

Call your regular sitter or babysitting service, such as SeekingSitters.com, to check their availability for Valentine’s Day.

You won’t regret the extra effort. And you don’t even have to buy into the flowers or chocolates.

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Annette Shukry is a mother of two children and owner of the Omaha metro and Lincoln locations of SeekingSitters, a full-service nanny and babysitting referral service.

For more information, call 402-990-7795 or email Annette.Shukry@SeekingSitters.com

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