For most of us, the tradition of Valentine’s Day slowly disappears when the demands of kids and parenting take over. But with Valentine’s falling on a Saturday this year, it’s a chance to take a special opportunity to demonstrate how we should take time to appreciate and spoil our loved ones.
Here are 6 fun ways to include your children in this year’s celebrations –
• If your loved one has a sweet tooth, this is a great way to create a special Valentine’s treat. Decorate sugar cookies or cupcakes with red and white icing, hearts and sprinkles, or for an easy but different recipe, try an Impossible Pie, stencilling a heart in spice on top. Older children might like to investigate a new recipe and bake independently for a family dessert.
• Encourage children to paint portraits of the people they love, in the lead up to the day, and post them to parents at work, grandparents or family friends to arrive on Valentine’s Days as a seasonal surprise. Remember that Valentine’s doesn’t just have to be about couples!
• Choose a romantic age-appropriate film on DVD and settle in on the couch for a Valentine’s movie night. Pre-schoolers will love animated options such as Beauty and the Beast or Wall-E while older children could be introduced to family-friendly classics like My Girl or The Princess Bride.
• For a free and fun Valentine’s surprise, take your kids to the beach and “decorate” the sand with hand drawn hearts. Arrange to meet your partner at a specific time and location and see how many hearts you can draw before they arrive! If you’re lucky, you might even have some couple-time while the kids play in the sand and if you plan it right, you could even get a sunset!
• Remind your children that some people they know might be missing someone on Valentine’s. Consider grandparents who may have lost their spouses, single friends or people whose partners may be away at work. Encourage empathy by helping kids plan Valentine’s surprises to make others feel special.
• Plan a special Valentine’s Day menu with your child. Discuss that you are making a meal to show your love, so you will need to pick options which are someone else’s favourite. Shop and prepare the meal with your child, and they may learn that thinking of others is hard work sometimes, but is worth it in the end! Serve the meal with the fancy china (ie. not the plastic IKEA plates) and set the tone as ‘special’ with candles.
Valentine’s Day is about love. What once was a day for roses and chocolate can grow with your expanding family into a day of appreciating one another, and learning how even simple and inexpensive gestures can let people know how much we care for them – a valuable lesson for us all.
About the Author: Lynn Jackson is a mother of three, a wife of one and a teacher of many. Living in her hometown of Adelaide after many years travelling and teaching abroad, she attempts to find time for her passions of photography, reading, writing and skinny lattes with friends.