Relationship experts share 10 ways to connect with your partner after your kids have gone to bed - and some of them are so simple

But #3 isn't always an option for sleep-deprived parents...

A couple hugging on a sofa while watching TV
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you feel like parenting leaves no room for spending quality time with your partner, try these expert-approved tips to bring you closer.

Maintaining a romantic relationship takes work, and that becomes harder when you've got children to look after. All that time spent getting kids dressed, bathed and fed doesn't leave much opportunity for a relationship check-in, so it's totally normal to feel disconnected from your partner after having a baby - perhaps you even feel like you've gone off sex.

But you don't need to find new ways to spice up a relationship to reignite that spark, sometimes it's the little things that can help you feel more connected to your partner. Relationship experts Jocelyn and Aaron Freeman know this - they are married with a daughter and have years of experience as sought-after relationship coaches.

The pair often share advice and tips for couples over on their Instagram, and recently they've revealed 10 ways they reconnect with each other after their child has gone to bed.

Writing in a video, the Freemans said: "After you've gotten the kiddos to bed, and the kitchen cleaned up, and the toys picked up, it can feel like you have hardly anything left for each other. But there are small ways you can connect and prioritise each other every day." And some of their suggestions are surprisingly simple...

10 ways to connect with your partner

A post shared by Jocelyn and Aaron Freeman

A photo posted by meet_thefreemans on

  1. Putting phones away in a completely different room by 7pm, to remove distractions and help you be present
  2. Going to bed at the same time - and moving the TV out of the bedroom
  3. Wake up at 5am to get some time to yourselves before the kids wake up (although this one's not always realistic for sleep-deprived parents!)
  4. Doing 'date nights' during the day (if work allows it), like meeting up on your lunchbreaks
  5. Ask each other a meaningful question every day
  6. Form little rituals - Jocelyn says she makes tea for Aaron at night, while he makes a smoothie for her in the morning
  7. End the work day and intentionally switch to family mode, with phones on silent and away from you
  8. Kiss and hug in the morning
  9. Have a weekly Family Meeting to help with communication
  10. Do little things every day that are 'deposits' into each other’s 'Love Account'. These are small but meaningful things to remind each other that you’re loved, seen, wanted, and appreciated

Many of Jocelyn and Aaron's followers agreed with their suggestions. One said, "Love this. I'm convinced mobile phones/smart phones have contributed a great deal to relationship dysfunction and dissatisfaction."

Another parent said, "We’ve found that cleaning up after the kids go to bed is not as important as spending time together... Once the kids are down, we find something we both want to do and make time for it."

Of course, not all these tips are realistic for busy parents. Getting up at 5am, for example, is probably not going to happen if you've been up all night with a crying baby or a toddler who's had a nightmare. Try the smaller, more manageable tips instead - like asking your partner a question about their day, making sure to kiss goodbye before you leave for work or switching off your phone after the kids have gone to bed.

As the Freeman's said themselves, "Not all of these will work for every couple, but take what works and leave what doesn’t".

In related news, a sexless marriage isn't destined for divorce - we talk to the experts about the most common reason couples stop having sex. Elsewhere, a maternal health expert has shared her top tips for a fulfilling sex life while breastfeeding and, if you feel like your relationship is stuck in a rut, a psychologist reveals how to stop your relationship becoming ‘predictable and boring’.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.