Taking care of small children can be one part rewarding and two parts exhausting some days. Even with two parents at home on the weekends, sometimes all we want to do is crash and do our own thing, right? But it’s important for couples to connect. The time after children go to bed, when it’s just you and your spouse, is sacred. My husband and I definitely enjoy our tv shows together but it’s tough to connect and really decompress when you’re sitting side by side, staring at a blue screen. To help bring back some of that sanctity to bedtime, here are some before bed activity ideas that allow couples to connect with each other. Try them out with your partner!

Podcast Club

So we’ve all heard of book clubs, of course. But it can be tough to fit in the time to read an actual book. I know for me it usually takes months for me to finish a book because as soon as I start to read, my eyes begin to shut. But my husband and I are both avid podcast listeners. There are so many wonderful podcasts out there and the best part is that you can listen to them anytime. My husband will listen while he does dishes or on his long commute; I love to listen to them in the car or when I’m cooking. Pick a short podcast that you both really like and commit to spending one night a week talking about what you thought was interesting about it. Not only is it a great way to connect, it’s also a welcome opportunity to use your brain in a different way, instead of just being consumed with toddler time and family organization.

If you have a favourite podcast, we’d love to know about it! Leave us the details in a comment below.

Puzzles, Crosswords, and Sudoku

Bedtime routine ideas can be in the form of simple games of any kind. They are a great way to decompress while also being able to have a conversation with your spouse. Find an intricate and fun jigsaw puzzle, set it up on a table where it won’t have to be moved right away, and commit to working on it together a couple of nights a week. Use the time to talk about what’s new, to make future plans—whatever! I am also a big fan of crossword puzzles and work on the Sunday NY Times puzzle every week. Every now and then I ask my husband for some help (okay, more than every now and then) and notice how much we enjoy doing it together. Two minds are usually better than one! And it’s also really fun to have your spouse surprise you with their random bits of knowledge. It’s a great reminder that there is always something new we can learn about one another.

Board Games and Card Games

Forget Candyland and Go Fish! Break out the games you used to play as an APK (adult, pre-kids!) and enjoy those again with your spouse.  Cribbage, euchre, trivial pursuit – there are so many fun games to enjoy.  And since it has likely been awhile since you’ve played, check out new games on the market and learn how to play together.

Take some time to talk it through with your spouse. Think back to when you first met and how your interests overlapped. Remember that, yes, you are parents now but you are people too! Take care of yourselves and your relationship.

Contributed by Good Night Sleep Site Consultant – Kristina Amerikaner