DIY and dinner? 3 in 4 parents say the pandemic is changing their date night preferences

NEW YORK — From DIY remodeling projects to the more traditional dinner and a movie, this year’s Valentine’s Day date options for parents across the country really run the gamut.

A new poll of 2,000 parents and 500 single parents of children under 18 found that Feb. 14, and dating in general, continues to creatively evolve as families identify what’s truly important to them. When it comes to choosing how to spend Valentine’s Day together, parents prefer an overnight trip (53%), a date night at home (46%), a fancy dinner (42%), a night out on the town (41%), or one in a bar (38%).

Dating in the age of COVID

datingThe poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Zulily also further explored dating habits and preferences of married couples and single parents during the pandemic. Almost three-quarters (74%) of parents agree that COVID-19 has changed the dating dynamic and their dating preferences.

When asked about where they would prefer to spend date nights, both attached and single parents say date nights indoors are their top preference. However, almost one-third (31%) of married parents are still keen to spend date nights outside of the home, compared to 19 percent of single parents.

Coupled up parents are more likely to spend time together inside the house doing things like remodeling and DIY home products (21%), cooking (20%), and playing video games together (18%) – making date night activities outside of the home that much more special.

Married parents are also more likely to opt for less traditional “date nights” like double dates and morning dates. In fact, coupled up parents are more than twice as likely to prefer double dates with other couples (30%) in comparison to single parents (13%).

Quality time vs. quantity time

In general, parents are leaning into “Micro Moment Dating,” as 34 percent of married and 38 percent of single parents report that they favor shorter and more frequent moments of quality time in lieu of longer, less frequent date nights.

“Last year, we discovered new love languages amid the pandemic and this year we’re learning even more about how parents across the country, married and single, are getting creative to keep the spark alive through gifting and date nights,” says Andrea Conrad, director of brand and communications at Zulily, in a statement. “It’s not necessarily about the amount of time spent with loved ones, but about how that time is spent together.”

More than half the poll (55%) would consider swapping childcare responsibilities with another couple to trade date nights. The tried-and-true dinner and a movie still ranks high in first and second place (38% vs 35%) for both moms and dads when it comes to their preferred date night activities, and moms are still partial to an evening date (44%).

Valentine’s Day can be pricey

datingThis increase in “Micro Moment Dating” may also be giving dads a chance to flex their creative muscles as 61 percent say they’ve had to get more creative when it comes to planning time with their partner or the person they’re dating, compared to 55 percent of moms.

Even with common interests and similar favorite activities, it turns out planning any type of date night is no easy task. Almost half (48%) of parents find the most challenging part to be working around busy schedules, while 23 percent have trouble choosing what to do.

Regardless of how they spend their date night together, 56 percent spend between $100 and $250 on their significant other or the person they’re dating for Valentine’s Day. However, 35 percent of parents would prefer that money go towards a thoughtful date night, compared to 25 percent who’d prefer a physical gift.

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