Valentine’s Day is a mushy-mushy lovey-dovey holiday to spend doing romantic things with your sweetheart, right? Or maybe it’s a day that you dread. Maybe you grit your teeth ’till it’s done because you don’t have a special someone or because your partner is one of those people who says you don’t need a particular day of the year to express love. But how about Valentine’s Day activities for families?
Have you ever thought about making Valentine’s Day a family event? The idea is to celebrate love, so why should that be limited to the romantic kind of love?
Maybe it’s time to do something different and start some new family traditions this Valentine’s Day. It’s always good to shake things up, right? Here are a few things to help you get started.
Plan a scavenger hunt with the kids for Mom or Dad
Let the kids make and hide clues for mom or dad. The end of the hunt can produce a meaningful gift, such as gift certificates for favors (wash car, clean out the garage, cook dinner, etc.), homemade treats, and framed family pictures. You can get really creative and fun with this one…see what your kids come up with for prizes!
Think about those who may be lonely on Valentine’s Day and brainstorm ways to show you care
Do you have an elderly neighbor? Do you live near a retirement community or veteran’s home? Let your kids make Valentine cards, bake heart-shaped cookies, or assemble fun treat bags. Sometimes just a visit or asking them if you can do something to help out (i.e. picking something up from the store or helping bring their trash bins in from the curve) is just as appreciated as cards and candy.
Get the kids to tell you how they think Valentine’s Day started
Then do some research with them to see if their ideas are right. Challenge older kids to write a story with the facts they learn. I asked my six-year-old if he knew what Valentine’s Day and he said it was a day to be nice and kiss your family. Sounds pretty good to me! We might just go with that and leave the Saint Valentine’s stuff for another year but I bet older kids could come up with some fun things.
Don’t forget Grandparents
Have your kids write individual notes to Grandma and Grandpa then personally deliver them with a box of candy, some flowers or some homemade treats. Or store bought treats. Treats are treats, right? If grandparents live far away, mail each note in a separate envelope with a piece of artwork. Our kids come home from school with a ton of drawings and art projects and this is a great way to manage the sea of paper that falls out of the backpack. Snail mail has gone out of fashion but that’s kind of a shame. Anyone would appreciate Valentine’s Day treats in their mailbox – especially grandparents.
Mail your kids a Valentine’s card
They’ll love finding something special in the mailbox just for them. Share special memories or wishes you have for them. I’m super excited to try this with my kids this year. They love going to the mailbox with me and helping me carry the mail back down the street to our house. Seeing something there that has their name on it will make their day.
Come up with personalized ways to show love to each of your kids on Valentine’s Day
One child might appreciate more quality time with you while another may feel loved with words of affirmation or presents. No matter what you come up with, this gets your family talking and spending time together. If you have more than one kid, one-on-one dates are really a neat thing. I took one of my kids grocery shopping and then rolled through the McDonald’s drive through for a milkshake to drink on the way home. He called it “our special day” and talks about it all the time.
Share with your kids how you celebrated Valentine’s Day when you were their age
Then have them talk to their grandparents to find out how they celebrated it. Talk about ways the Valentine’s traditions with your family through the year, how they have changed and how they’ve stayed the same. My kid’s elementary school Valentine’s Day experience is pretty similar to my own, so it’s nice to see some things don’t change. They love hearing about when I was a kid. And then they ask me questions like “was there TV back then?” Sigh.
Make Valentine’s Day a “red letter day” for your family.
Decorate the house (or just a room) with hearts, streamers, and balloons. Wear a red outfit and serve heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Make heart-shaped sandwiches to pack lunches. You might be thinking this is a little too much Pinterest and glitter for you, but just try it. It’s one day. Kids really get into making a big deal out of special days. You can clean up the mess later and you’ll look back on it and be glad you took the time.
Let the kids make an “I love you because” book for someone special.
They can write special messages, include drawings or some favorite photos and artwork.
I’m really looking forward to including my family in some Valentine’s Day activities this year. This doesn’t give my husband a pass…I still expect something mega-romantic. And, if not that, maybe something with just the two of us. Hey, a dinner where I don’t have to cut anyone else’s food is sexy.
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