Valentine’s Day is coming soon! While we typically celebrate romantic love on Valentine’s Day, we can use the spirit of the day to celebrate love in lots of ways. This is a day we can use to teach our kids about love in everyday life and love with family and friends. And if you get really excited about it, you might celebrate for a week, or even all month! So here are some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family.
Teach the meaning of Valentine’s Day
There are multiple histories of St. Valentine, who was likely several different men. Traditionally, we talk of the Valentine who married Roman soldiers to their loves in secret. Emperor Claudius had decreed that his soldiers must remain unmarried, and Valentine defied the emperor by helping these couples.
Through the centuries, this tradition has developed into a big red and pink, over-the-top deal. Gifts, romantic dinners, and parties dominate the day. Whether you see this as good or bad, Valentine’s Day is a big part of our culture. But this doesn’t mean that it has to symbolize only romantic love. We can teach about love and celebrate it however we choose. The conversations started in our Valentine’s Day activities can continue throughout the year.
What comes to your mind when you think about everyday love? Probably not romantic love. Everyday love has a lot more to do with giving and caring in everyday ways. We can talk with our kids about real care for our family and friends. Ask your kids what love means, then see what they think about ways to show love to each other and to their friends. Talk about showing love every day and not only on special days. After this, your kids will be more ready to come up with some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family.
Read to your kids about friendship and love
Of course there are classics like Guess How Much I Love You and I Love You to the Moon and Back and I Love You Through and Through. While these are wonderful board books about our love for our kids, there are quite a few more. For more ideas, you can search your library’s catalog for titles about family, love, or friendship. After reading some of these, you may have more ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
For Little Ones
I’ll Walk With You by Carol Lynn Pearson
Love The World by Todd Parr
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
Love, Z by Jessie Sima
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
For Older Kids
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards
Us by Frank Boylan
Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Show your kids how much you love them
We parents can have a lot of fun showering our kids with love on Valentine’s Day. Last year, there was a picture all over social media. It showed a child’s bedroom door covered with paper hearts, and each heart said something special about the child. This was a hit at my house. After all, kids love to know what we think is great about them! (Source: https://www.skiptomylou.org/heart-attack/)
You can adapt this idea in many ways. Hide special messages like this around the house for them to find as they go about the day. Or make a scavenger hunt out of them!
If your child has a particular interest, see how you can incorporate that into something special. You can use it as a theme, or you could give a gift focused on it, or you could provide a way to participate in it.
Many of us like to have special food on special days, so if this is something you enjoy, you can have a lot of fun with it. Make a fancy dinner with your family’s favorite foods. Have a fancy dessert. Or make hearts a part of each meal. While this may sound like a lot of work, it can be as simple or as complicated as you prefer. You can make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast, or simply cut toast into a heart shape. You can cut sandwiches into hearts for an easy lunch. If you search online for heart shaped food ideas, you’ll find a ton.
Gifts are, of course, another way we enjoy showing love to each other. If gifting is part of your Valentine’s Day celebration, talk to your kids about different types of gifts. Gifts of time or effort are just as giving as gifts of items or money.
Work Together to Show Love to Your Friends and Family
Brainstorm together about ways to show family and friends how much you love them. Of course, kids are used to distributing cute little valentines at school. Beyond this, how can you show care for neighbors and friends? Is there someone you know who is lonely? What can you do to bring some cheer to that lonely heart? Do you have a friend going through a difficult time? What can you do to show love for them on Valentine’s Day? Then let your kids be part of blessing others. What a great way to celebrate love!
Be sure to watch our special sign review of Valentines Day Signs here. Remember, as you enjoy the day, you can use all the signs for feelings. We cover many feelings signs in the Feelings section of our Signing Time Dictionary. You can talk about how some people may feel hurt or sad on this day. Use the signs for fun and for happy as you talk about how fun it would be to help someone feel happy. And of course there is the sign for love.
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