Sometimes, the best things in life are the simplest. As Valentine's Day fast approaches, it's worth keeping this old adage in mind. Rather than stressing about coming up with the perfect gift or what you have been told by TV, movies, or advertisers is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day, parents and grandparents might want to take this time to think about some simple ways to show their love that come from their hearts.
Here are some inspirational ideas for just how to do that from the experts on the About Parenting & Family Channel as well as bloggers who also write about parenting and families.
Creating Simple Traditions
- Carrie Craft, About's Guide to Adoption/Foster Care, has numerous wonderful ideas for creating lasting Valentine's Day traditions for families, including leaving notes of appreciation, going out for heart-shaped pizzas, and playing or creating Valentine's cards together.
- Another lovely idea, suggested by Jane Cys, About's Mom Recommends Guide, is to give your kids a daily reminder of how much they mean to you by incorporating an expression of love into your child's bedtime routine.
- Jennifer O'Donnell, About's Guide to Parenting Tweens, suggests some ideas for fun Valentine's activities to do with older kids such as watching favorite movies, baking together, or even working together to help someone else.
- About's Guide to Grandparents, Susan Adcox, points out that sending Valentine's Day greetings through the mail rather than via email or text will mean that the letters can be kept forever rather than disappear into cyberspace.
- Denise Witmer, About's Guide to Parenting Teens, suggests making time for connecting with your teenage child. She has ideas for 25 ways you can say "I love you" to teens.
- An adorable idea for a Valentine's Day tradition comes from Shelley of Grandma's Little Pearls. Her family has exchanged "heart attacks," in which family members, go to each other's houses and cover everything with paper hearts (Grandma and Grandpa can go to the kids one year and the kids can surprise the grandparents the next, for example).
Showing Unconditional Love
- For Jennifer Wolf, Single Parents Guide, showing your children unconditional love is a simple but important way to show them how much they matter to you. She suggests not only taking the time to consider how you show your love, but also the ways your kids can readily recognize your feelings.
The Big Impact of Small Gestures
- Often, small gestures such as a 6-year-old's love notes or a mom editing a child's school essay can be big declarations of love, points out Katherine Lewis, About's Guide to Working Moms.
- Catherine Holecko, About's Guide to Family Fitness, talks about buying the cute furry soakers for ice skate blades that her daughter will love, and some ice hockey books that are sure to be a hit with her son.
- Writer and editor Penelope Lemov, of Parenting Grown Children, writes about crocheting a blanket for her granddaughter's American Girl dol. This gesture lovingly making a blanket for a doll serves as a reminder to Lemov that giving "something of and from yourself to a precious child" is what grandparenting -- and love -- is all about.
- For Sally of RaisingGrandchildren.net.nz, "a gentle touch on the arm, a secret smile, strolling in the street holding hands or simply just being together" and a whispered declaration of a granddaughter's love are small but meaningful gestures of love.
- Elizabeth Kennedy, About's Guide to Children's Books, notes that something as simple as reading a book about love and/or Valentine's Day is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday with them.
- And let's not forget the power of the care package. About's Guide to Young Adults Jackie Burrell reminds us that sending a package of sweet treats and cozy surprises is a wonderful way to say "I love you" to someone who is far away.
- A beautiful story about a lovey, told by the grandmother who writes the Free Ranging Chickens and Grandchildren blog, shows just how much love can be packed into a small grandma-made object that can fit into a pocket.
A Mini Couples Retreat
- A terrific idea for how to sneak in some couple time comes from Jacqui of inlandmom, who tells the story of her brilliantly-inventive husband, who arranged for a perfect outdoor setting for some couple time after the baby went to bed.