For moms and dads who have schedules that don't allow for regular date nights, a little creative thinking is in order. If you or your spouse work a late shift, work weekends, or your work does not follow the old "9-to-5" time frame — do not give up. You can make it work, it just might look different.

1. Do lunch

If children are in a day camp, a Mom's Day Out program, or just on a play date, take the opportunity to have a lunch together (or breakfast, or supper — whatever works with your schedule). Having a daytime meal out together may be short, but it also might be easier to pull more of these than the typical dinner-and-a-movie date night.

2. Shop together

It doesn't sound romantic, but getting a few errands done without pushing a cart full of kids, or retrieving your child from the toy section can be quite refreshing. If you only have a short time, or are waiting for your child to be done with sports lessons or day camp, take advantage of the opportunity. While you're on errands, make sure to pick up some ingredients at the grocery store for a special dinner — for just the two of you.

3. Have a stay-at-home date

Use either an evening when you're both home together, or an afternoon quiet time to talk, reconnect, or watch a movie on a stay-at-home date. If you think your children are too old for a quiet time in their rooms — think again.

4. Use your child's special event as quality time with your spouse

Have a teenager on a sleepover? Kids gone to camp? Use the child-free time in the morning, afternoon, or evening to take a walk, go out, or have coffee together.

5. Use a vacation day — or two

Time with each other is worth a day of vacation. If that is what it takes for some quality time alone, and it's possible for you both, do it.

6. Take advantage of family holidays

Are you traveling to see grandparents, aunts and uncles, in-laws? Ask for some time during the day or evening and leave the kids with family. They will probably love the time with your kids as much as you love and need the time without.

Check out some fun and truly creative date ideas from The Art of Manliness and eight cheap dates from Wise Bread.

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