Whether you’re single or married, excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day or dreading it, there are plenty of ways to leverage the momentum of this February holiday to the benefit of our families, and you don’t even have to load your kids up with candy.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s preschoolers who have it made. Their biggest concern is whether to get the Dora Valentine’s or the Jake the Pirate ones. For them, it’s just another day. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways to make Valentine’s count for your preschooler:
A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, begin asking your preschooler, “When does Mommy or Daddy love you?”.
Do I love you when you get spaghetti in your hair? Yes.
Do I love you when you clean up room your room? Yes.
Do I love you when obey? Yes.
Do I love you when you disobey? Yes.
End the game the same way each time by asking, When does Mommy or Daddy love you? All the time.
Then, on Valentine’s Day, change it up. Introduce the idea of God loving your child.
Do you know who loves you even MORE than I love you? God. He does! He created you. He made your nose and your eyes and your hair. Do you know when God loves you?
Does God love you when you color on the walls? Yes.
Does God love you when you share with friends? Yes.
Tell your child that Valentine’s Day is the day you celebrate love—how you love and how God loves them. Spend the day saying, “When does God love you? All the time!”
When your children enter elementary school, Valentine’s Day becomes a bigger deal. There’s a calendar countdown, shoeboxes are slathered with gluey-pink paper to become mail receptacles, and you can guarantee that boxes of conversation hearts will find their way into at least one classroom activity. We think you can use this heightened awareness for their benefit.
A few days before Valentine’s Day, sit down with your kid and talk about what it means to really love. (Love means putting others before ourselves.) Use the Bible to give you language—John 12:35, 1 Corinthians 13:1, John 13:34, John 15:13. Talk to your kid about ways we can love others. Then, sit down and write your ideas down on paper hearts. Then, on Valentines Day, draw random acts of kindness and complete them with your kid.
Here are some ideas:
- Open a door for a stranger
- Write a thank you note to your teacher
- Make up your sibling’s bed
- Give some of your allowance to charity
- Talk to someone new at school
The only thing harder than being an adult on Valentine’s Day is being a teenager on Valentine’s Day. Being a single girl at sixteen can feel isolating. Add in a holiday that highlights the fact that you’re boyfriendless? Torture. And while your teenage boys are probably relieved they don’t have to buy someone a gift, we promise you, they don’t look forward to Valentine’s Day, either.
Even if your teenager comes home with a dozen carnations and enough candy to put the whole house in a sugar coma, it’s important they know they’re loved at home, too.
We suggest a “heart attack.” Ask friends and family to give you a few words to describe your child. Write all those words on hearts and tape them to their door the night before Valentine’s Day.
Think your teenage boy will roll his eyes and complain? Probably. But I promise he’ll read the words before he tears them off.
Redefine Valentine’s Day this year. Not just for your kids—but for you, too.
Join the conversation! How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids? Let us know in the comments below.