By Mary May Larmoyeux
Would you like to begin some new family traditions this Valentine’s Day? Then the following ideas have been written just for you.
- Ask the kids to tell you how they think Valentine’s Day began. Write down what they say. Then do some research with the children, online or at the library, and see if their ideas are correct.
- Designate the month of February as a time to show special love in your home.
3.Plan a unique scavenger hunt with the kids for Dad (or Mom). Help the children make and hide clues, taping a small chocolate kiss on each one. Have meaningful gifts at the end of the hunt. Possibilities include handwritten notes of love and appreciation, personal certificates of service (I will wash your car, clean out the garage, cook dinner, etc.), drawings, homemade treats, framed family pictures, etc. To make the scavenger hunt extra special, end your time with a family trip to the pizza parlor, for ice cream or bowling alley.
- As a family, think of those who may be especially lonely on Valentine’s Day, then brainstorm ways that you could show love to them. The kids may want to make unique Valentine cards, bake heart-shaped cookies, or invite them to a special lunch or dinner.
- Cultivate a sense of appreciation in your children by helping them express appreciation to their grandparents. Have each of the kids write Grandma and Grandpa individual Valentine’s Day notes. On February 14, personally deliver the notes along with an arrangement of flowers or a balloon bouquet. If grandparents live out-of-town, mail each note in a separate envelope and also call Grandma and Grandpa.
- Make February 14 a “red letter day” for your family. Decorate the kitchen or dining room with hearts, red and white streamers, and heart-shaped balloons. Wear a red outfit or apron and serve the family heart-shaped pancakes; add some red food coloring to the syrup. Make heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch, and choose dinner entrees that are red.
- Mail each of your children a Valentine’s card from you and your spouse. Share not only why you love your child unconditionally, but also your gratitude to God that your son/daughter is your child.
- Tell your children how you celebrated Valentine’s Day as a child. Then have the kids call/visit their grandparents to see how they celebrated it. Talk about ways that Valentine traditions have not only changed, but also remained the same.
- Help the kids make an “I love you because” book for someone special (parent, grandparent, pastor, teacher, etc.). In addition to writing and drawing heartfelt messages, include some favorite photographs and artwork. For a lasting keepsake, have the book bound at a local print shop.
- With your spouse, decide on personalized ways that you can show love to each of your children on Valentine’s Day. Spend time thinking about how to best do this. While love for one child may be expressed by time, another may feel loved by words of affirmation or gifts. You may want to read The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.