PhotoKids aren’t exactly known for their ability to fan the flames of romance. On the contrary, sleep deprived parents with young children might find the idea of taking a nap more appealing than going out to dinner.

But while the needy newborn phase may be short-lived, a new study has found that it may be years before new parents get a chance to venture out for date night. In fact, date night often gets put on the back burner until children are three years old.

The results of a new survey by childcare finder website Sittercity revealed that many parents rarely have time to have date nights without the kids. While reasons for the lack of kid-free outings varied, the study made it clear that a majority of moms and dads struggle to make it out of the house without kids.

Hindrances to getting out 

Most parents cited the cost of babysitting as their number one reason for not leaving the kids at home more often. But once kids reached the age of three, parents were much more likely to have regular date nights.

"Our ideal date is dinner and a movie without one of our kids having a freak out!" said one mother from Jacksonville, FL.

Freak-outs may be most inevitable for parents of 0-2 year-olds. The survey found that 70% of parents with children in this age range reported only going on dates once per month or less.

But making it to the other side of the terrible twos often brings positive changes to parents’ dating habits, as half of parents with children 3 years-old and older report making it out for a date at least once per week.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Parents might also notice that Cupid's arrow is a little less punctual than it was in the years before having kids. Celebrating Valentine's Day on the day itself often isn't in the cards for parents with young children, the study found.

Sittercity found that 28% of parents likely won’t celebrate Valentine’s Day until after February 14th. Twenty-five percent of parents said Valentine’s Day would be a family affair with the kids included in the celebration.

Other notable findings from the study were as follows:

  • Parents generally don't find time for dates without the kids. 46% only go out once or twice per month.

  • 56% of parents are most likely to run errands with a few hours of free time, while 25% would go on a date.

  • 61% of respondents said they are most likely to go on a date with their partner when they have a night off from the kids, while 25% said they're most likely to spend time with friends.

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