Parents redefine what dating means with new ways to spend their Valentine's Day

·3-min read

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 0-18 found that February 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 in (46%), a fancy dinner (42%), a night out on the town (41%) or in a bar (38%). 

The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Zulily also further explored dating habits and preferences of married couples and single parents.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of parents agreed that COVID-19 has changed the dating dynamic and in parallel, so have dating preferences. 

When asked about where they would prefer to spend date nights, both coupled up and single parents said date nights in were their top preference.

However, almost one-third (31%) of married parents were keen to spend date nights outside of the home, compared to 19% 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. 

The survey found the top couple themes as expressed by what, exactly, couples are opting to do at home during their "date night in," to help parents find a thoughtful gift they can enjoy together. 

It's no surprise that when it comes to claiming a couple theme, the top contenders are tied. "The Epicurean Couple," those who enjoy cooking and baking together (20%), and "The Home Improvement Couple," those who enjoy DIY projects and home remodeling (21%).  

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%) when compared to single parents (13%). 

In general, parents are leaning into "Micro Moment Dating," as 34% of married and 38% 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. "It's not necessarily about the amount of time spent with loved ones, but about how that time is spent together."

More than half (55%) of parents would consider swapping childcare responsibilities with another couple to trade date nights.

The tried-and-true dinner and a movie still rank high in first and second place (38% vs 35%) for both moms and dads when it comes to their preferred date night, and moms are still partial to an evening date (44%). 

This increase in "Micro Moment Dating" may also be giving dads a chance to flex their creative muscles as 61% said 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% of moms. 

But 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% have trouble choosing what to do. 

Regardless of how they spend their date night together, 56% of parents spend between $100 and $250 on their significant other or the person they're dating for Valentine's Day. 

And 35% of parents would prefer that money to be spent on a thoughtful date night, compared to 25% who'd prefer a physical gift.

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