When we think about celebrating Valentine's Day, most of us think of our sweetheart, our spouse, our partner. We hunt for the romantic, the gifts or gestures that reconfirm our love. And, that's all good. Yet the day is about more than flowers and candy in heart-shaped boxes, especially if you have children.
Yes, it is your and your partner's day and how you treat each other speaks loudly to your offspring. They are watching and absorbing your ways of recognizing your bond. The way you celebrate and how inclusive you are of your children teaches them how they should and will act toward those they love in the future.
On Valentine's Day
Being warm and loving to your grownup Valentine is as important as expressing love for your little Valentines. Here are ideas, some from my book Little Things Long Remembered, for creating a super special Valentine's Day in your house and demonstrating thoughtfulness, caring, and sensitivity to your family that you'll want to continue year round.
- Get in the spirit by wearing something red.
- Have them help you wrap that special surprise for your spouse (if you exchange gifts to mark the day).
- Give your children a small, token gift as well. Could be a heart-shaped rock, a small package of candy hearts, a bookmark with a Valentine message, a deck of cards (that you use to play a game with them)
- Leave a trail of chocolate kisses or candy hearts for your child to follow to find their suprise.
- Be excited about preparing a special Valentine's dinner and cook it with your children's assistance.
- Give each of your children a Valentine's card from both of you to underscore you are a unit (mom and dad). For added emphasis deliver your cards at the same time you give one to your husband.
- You can put cards at their places at the breaskfast or dinner table.
- Add a few candy hearts or chocolate kisses in their empty cereal bowl or lunch.
- Cut bread into heart shapes and make French toast for breakfast.
- Put a valentine, it can be scribbled on a napkn in red ink, in with your child's school lunch.
- Draw red hearts on paper napkins putting one at each place at the dinner table.
- Start a Valentine's Day cake tradition. Buy heart-shaped baking pans to use each year. You can also use a paper heart pattern on a round cake to cut out a heart. Short cut: stop at the bakery.
- Make heart-shaped pancakes (okay so they won't come out perfectly formed when you pour batter into the pan, but that may make serving your attempt at hearts more fun.
- Give the dog or cat a special treat, too. Or, add a red bow to her collar or leash.
Next > On the 364 Other Days...
To receive a free sample chapter of Little Things Long Remembered, go to: www.susannewmanphd.com
Social psychologist and parenting expert, Susan Newman, specializes in issues impacting family life. She is the author of 13 books including The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It-and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever (McGraw-Hill), the now classic, Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day and Little Things Mean a Lot: Creating Happy Memories with Your Grandchildren (Random House/Crown); and Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only, among others. For more details, go to www.thebookofno.com or www.susannewmanphd.com