How to make your little sweeties feel as unique and loved as they are.
- Parker Barry
When I was a kid, every Valentine’s Day began with a gift from my mom. I looked forward to those small, inexpensive gifts — a book of paper dolls, tiny earrings shaped like candy hearts, fuzzy red mittens — and the short, sweet card that reminded me just how much she loved me.
Those were always special days because I felt that extra dose of love from the start. No matter what happened later at my classroom card exchange party — feeling slighted by a friend who gave a “better” valentine to another friend or missing special candy from a crush — it was still a good day. Those mom-gifts were like inoculations against the ups and downs of a day that can sometimes turn into a popularity contest or a competition between puppy love rivals, rather than a day of fond affection.
Through one small gesture at the beginning of the day, Valentine’s Day can become the perfect day to celebrate your kids, helping them feel unique, lovable and loved. It can also be an opportunity to forever reframe the Day of Romance for kids by showing them love that’s worthy of a holiday comes in many ways, not just romantic.
Valentine’s Day can become the perfect day to help kids feel unique, lovable and loved.
Now I carry on my mom’s Valentine’s Day gift tradition with my three kids — this year on Friday, when kids celebrate at school. My first-thing-in-the-morning surprises have included heart-shaped pancakes, Valentine’s Day-themed shirts, and toy hamsters that danced and sang sappy love songs with a tap of their plush paws. In recent years, I’ve printed the pictures of my kids stashed on my phone throughout the previous year and decorated a shoe box for each one to put them in. I set the boxes on the table at breakfast and we look at the photos, laugh and remember fun times together.
It may seem obvious to us parents how much we love our kids. But in the busyness of everyday life we may forget to overtly tell them just how much they’re loved, not because of a talent or accomplishment but simply because they are who they are. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to tell your kid just that in small, memorable ways (dancing hamsters optional).