8 Totally Doable, Meaningful Valentine’s Traditions For Kids Little Acts Of Love They’ll LOVE
Is Valentine’s Day just another obligatory reason to buy your kids (and spouse) MORE STUFF, eat all the sugar you just got finished juice-cleansing out of your system since Christmas, and stress about how Pinterest-worthy your child’s Valentine’s Day school goodies are this year?
All of our heart rates just went up reading the above paragraph. BUT, we beg to differ!! Valentine’s Day is a cool opportunity to make lifelong memories, teach kids about real love, and have fun doing it. (If you’re down to the wire and still need a thrifty gift fix for your boo, check out our blog on Valentine’s Alternatives: Gestures You Haven’t Made Yet). If you’re looking to spice things up for the whole family, here are some practical traditions to celebrate love together every Valentine’s Day.
1. Heart-shaped breakfast…and make it PINK
Nothing a couple o’ drops of red food coloring and a cookie cutter won’t dress up here: heart-shaped pancakes, waffles, scrambled egg whites, or heart-shaped fruit and cake skewers like these from popsugar.com.
2. Love Banner That Goes On…And On.
Grab some pink and red construction paper, scissors and twine, and put on your best Kindergartener-tongue-out-creative-face on for this one. Make a heart banner, and add to it each year! On each heart, have everyone write a note to a person in the family, giving them a “heart attack” (AKA telling them one thing you love about them). Don’t forget to sign your name and the year, and pretty soon you’ll be draping this banner across the entire kitchen ceiling each year!
3. Fancy Valentine’s Red Dinner
No secret trick here: heart-shaped pizza or red pasta, candles, table cloth (a paper one, because stains), plastic champagne flutes – the whole nine! Some ideas for dessert are red velvet cake, pink sugar cookies, or mini boxes of chocolates! During dinner, take turns spotlighting a family member and sharing what you love about them. Then hire a babysitter, so you can go out with your honey another night…somewhere with a real white tablecloth.
4. Love Coupons
Draw names of family members out of a hat, and give your designated person a love coupon, inscribed, “This coupon belongs to Dad and is redeemable for one backrub from Jack.” Kids can design coupons that promise they’ll make the bed for someone the next day, serve them dinner, clean out the car (plug for Mom or Dad), or pick up someone’s toys for a day. This is fun, cute, and instills in children a heart of service!
5. Breakfast Game
Hand out a DIY Love Word Search at breakfast! Create your own with words like “patient”, “kind,” “giving.” Sneak in names of family members, too, so they’ll never forget the ones who love them most. You can even create a word search in the shape of a heart here! Your kids too cool for word searches? Try this V-day bingo download! Come on, they’ll do anything for those colorful candy hearts, despite the embarrassed teenage eye-rolls.
6. Mommy/Daddy dates
Use the month of February to arrange little, simple one-on-one dates with each of your kids. Take them for ice cream on the way home from school, go to the grocery store just you and them to pick out all ingredients of their favorite meal, and cook it together for the family. Or surprise them with their favorite fast food takeout at school – the list goes on. More ideas here!
7. A Visit From St. Valentine
OK, this one totally melted our hearts, while also giving us a slight giggle. Fill a basket with some extra goodies, ring the doorbell and run (hence the slight giggle)! Kids love a classic surprise visit from a holiday character, and this provides a fun opportunity to talk about the real meaning behind Valentine’s Day, which is of course sacrificial love. Legend has it that St. Valentine married young Christian couples, a high crime of his time, and was ultimately martyred for his faith. We think the idea of “Valentine’s visit” is such a cool way to garner excitement around this historical figure who embodied radical love – serving others even when inconvenient, giving without counting the cost, laboring and not seeking reward.
8. Extra, Extra
No matter where you venture off to while treating your little ones, be sure and have them craft some extra cards for the strangers you meet along the way. Make a POINT to pass your extra Valentines out to candy store clerks, ice cream parlor employees, or even a homeless person on the street. Because love is contagious, some folks may find themselves even going the extra mile and visiting a nursing home, hospital, or soup kitchen. Too many people are lonely on Valentine’s Day, and getting a handmade card (and a smile) from a little kid would probably make their day!
Yes, Valentine’s Day may be another Hallmark consumer-driven holiday, if you want to see it like that. On the flip side, if we’re going to have another holiday, why not have one that celebrates love, the most important virtue we want to instill in our kids? And why not let it be the holiday your whole family looks forward to year after year?