Before you have children, Valentine’s Day is usually a holiday that’s all about romance. Once babies come into the picture, though, things tend to change. You might not be able to celebrate with an evening out on the town, or want to spend money on flowers, champagne, and fancy chocolates.
Even if you do have romantic plans for Valentine’s Day, you’ll probably want to celebrate with your children too. Kids love holidays and traditions, and there are lots of fun ways to make Valentine’s Day special.
Decorate Your House
You decorate your home for Halloween and Christmas, why not Valentine’s Day? Head to your local dollar store for some inexpensive decorations like balloons and streamers, and then let your kids hang them up. You can decorate with items like flowers, ribbons, and tablecloths too.
It’s also fun to make your own decorations. Use pink, red, and white construction paper to make paper chains (like the red and green ones that are so popular at Christmas), and then hang them from the ceiling. Or let your children create some heart-themed artwork and hang it on your walls.
Make Handmade Valentine’s
You can always buy Valentine’s Day cards, but if you’ve got the time, most kids enjoy making their own. One easy way is to cut a heart out of construction paper and then glue a white paper doilie on top. Let your children decorate these with markers, glitter, stickers, and candy hearts.
If you enjoy making crafts, you don’t have to stop with handmade cards. For young children, download printable coloring pages. For older children, visit websites like Kaboose and Family Fun to find pictures and descriptions of lots of great craft ideas.
Many games that are childhood favorites can be modified to include a Valentine’s Day theme. For example, it’s easy to find free printable templates for games like Valentine’s Bingo or Tic-Tac-Toe. Make the games even more fun by using those cute little candy hearts in place of chips.
Head to the Kitchen
Valentine’s Day makes a great excuse to indulge in some delicious treats, and cooking and baking provide all kinds of valuable lessons in many aspects of math and reading. Even little children can pour and dump, and older kids can learn to read recipes and measure ingredients. Make some heart-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them with pink frosting and sprinkles. If you prefer chocolate, try making chocolate-covered strawberries or easy homemade truffles.
Host a Party
Once you’ve got the house decorated, the games planned, and the treats prepared, why not host a Valentine’s Day party? Invite a few friends or just the stuffed animals. Plan to play some of the games and make some of the crafts listed above, and then serve treats with heart-themed plates, cups, and napkins.
Start a Tradition
Family traditions provide children with a sense of security and belonging, and are fun and rewarding for the entire family. A tradition can be as simple as having breakfast together and serving heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine’s Day morning, or setting aside a special time during the day each year to share the things you love about each other.
Holidays almost always provide a teachable moment, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.
Talk About Hearts
Did you know that February is National Heart Month? Take the opportunity and use Valentine’s Day to teach your children about the real human heart. .
Depending upon the ages of your children, you could also talk to them about heart disease, and consider setting a good example by donating some of your own time or money to charitable organizations.
Tell Your Children You Love Them
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? But sometimes it’s easy to assume that our children know that we love them and forget to say the actual words. Even if you tell them every day, tell them again. They’re three simple words, but children can never hear them enough. And cards and hearts and candy aside, isn’t love what Valentine’s Day is really all about?