By Nadine Bubeck
“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.”
Valentine’s Day is a reminder that affection and unconditional love can make children emotionally happier and boost their confidence. Sure, it’s a time to celebrate the love you share with your significant other, but it’s also an opportunity to reinforce the importance of loving — and being loved — within the family. Here are seven ways to celebrate the holiday with kids.
Leave a heart on your child’s door each day of February until Valentine’s Day with something you love about them. Be specific in your compliments to make them feel extra special. Address their inner beauty: what makes them a good kid, sibling, son, daughter, student, etc. This is so easily done, nearly free and incredibly rewarding.
Plan Some Quality Time
Especially true for parents with multiple kids, individual time with each child can be hard to come by. Plan a date with each of your kids separately—truth be told, time is the greatest gift we could give someone. Honor their interests; for example, if one of your children loves art, take a parent-and-child painting class. If another child loves sports, allot time to picnic in the park and play catch. It doesn’t need to be over the top.
Reverse the Roles
Let the kids play parents for the night. Allow them to cook you and your significant other dinner and dessert—you’ll be surprised how much they’ll enjoy role-playing waiter and waitress. Suggest they make you Valentine’s Day cards and decorate the dinner table with heart-infused drawings. Date night at home courtesy of the kids—score! If you don’t have a partner, let your kids oversee a night out for your family or you and your bestie. Love comes in all forms.
Schedule a Family Date Night
Whether it’s movie night, game night, or craft night, celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing something special in the comfort of home. Order pizza, make popcorn, and wear PJs, and simply enjoy being in one another’s company. For dessert, decorate heart-shaped cookies.
Chances are your kids will be making Valentines for all their classmates, but you can take this a step further by making Valentines for friends and family. In fact, you can also show the community some love by delivering cookies to your local fire station or police department. Practicing appreciation is a good lesson of love to teach your kids.
Set a Good Example
Kids learn most from their parents and caregivers, so for them to learn love, they must be shown love. If you’re in a romantic relationship, show them photos and talk about it. If you’re not, point to friendships and other relationships and talk about the different kinds of love. There are so many kid-friendly books on the topic, too!
Consider The Simple Things
Sure, there are so many cliches when it comes to V-Day, but sometimes the most important Valentine’s Day message isn’t in the form of something monetary. As parents, all we want is to make sure our kids feel safe, secure, and loved, but how can we do that aside from telling them we love them? Simple ideas include showing physical affection, reading together, and showing enthusiasm in what they’re talking about, what they’re doing, etc. Let them dream, listen to their dreams, and encourage them to work toward pursuing them. Show your family some love this Valentine’s Day and every day.
Nadine Bubeck is a former news anchor turned all things mama. She is a TV parenting/lifestyle/travel contributor, author, influencer, and blessed boy mom times three. See nadinebubeck.com and Instagram @mamaandmyboys for more info. Her eldest, Nicholas, is CEO of creationsbynicholas.com.