Open kids’ hearts this Valentine’s Day with joy, creativity, and sharing

Paper hearts and adorable verses are great. They are anticipated, expected, and cherished. Usually, though, the thrill lasts minutes. What about cooking up some Valentine’s fun sweeter and longer lasting than the most delicious frosted cupcake? Spread the love and watch it double!

Modern Honey two years ago posted “5 Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Special for Kids.” One of their ideas is to write your kids letters telling them “all the things you love about them” and paying them compliments. Another of their fun suggestions is to make a special V-Day breakfast, complete with pink pancakes, pink milk, and “even pink eggs.” Or celebrate at the other end of the day with a unique family dinner—even if you’re going to go out with your sweetie afterward for “just the two of us” time.

V Day is lots of fun, but let’s face it, sometimes feelings do get hurt, whether from being (or feeling) left out. No one wants to think their child is capable of being mean-spirited, but as kids learn boundaries and shape identities, they can sometimes do and say surprising things. Multiple resources suggest that one of the best ways to raise a child who treats others well and doesn’t bully is to model kindness. What better time than a day earmarked as a celebration of love to do that?

Last year The Good Deeds Day blog shared “4 Ways to Make Valentine’s Sweeter by Giving Gifts and Giving Back” (originally posted on Points of Light). Top on their list is “send a Valentine to someone who won’t expect it.” The site says that “Many children’s hospitals have great, easy ways to send a Valentine online and brighten a child’s day,” and they even list a few. They also mentioned sending a Valentine to an older adult and/or visiting a senior center or nursing home as well as contacting VA medical centers.

Doing something special for grandparents can also bring big smiles and hugs! In 2018 the Over the Big Moon blog,devoted to “exploring all phases of life,” posted a take on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee, let me count the ways,” in the form of a Mad Lib-inspired printable for kids to fill in for grandparents for Valentine’s Day as well as an adorable hand and footprint printable.

During a stretch of fierce winter weather in late-January that led to multiple days of school closings, a bedtime conversation between one West Michigan teacher/mom and one of her sons, led to raising $1,800 for the homeless. They inquired of a local homeless about its greatest needs, which resulted in a mega shopping trip with the donated money and “filling carts with 55 pairs of boots, 80 pair of socks, and 28 sets of gloves, hats, and scarves. A similar Valentine’s effort could be themed around “Showing the Love.”

Got gratitude? Share it! Last month Kiwanis Kids posted “Share Gratitude on Valentine’s Day.”Targeted toward Kiwanis Club members, the idea of expressing gratitude toward those who efforts are often overlooked, is relevant to so many places and situations. For example, they suggest compiling a list of people who help out on a daily basis. It might include bus driver, custodian, cafeteria workers, school nurse, school counselors, and teachers. Plus, they expand on the idea of reaching out to seniors and military personnel with Valentine’s care packages filled with letters and drawings.

Of course, traditional Valentine’s gifts and cards do remain popular. After all, cartoonist Charles Schulz once said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” According to Finder, although 2019 Valentine’s spending is forecast to be down somewhat from last year, “it’s expected that more than half (53%) of all Americans will pull out all the stops this February 14th, spending a collective $30 billion on all manner of heart-shaped treats and experiences.” And while everyone loves handmade “anything” from kids, if time (and money) are at a premium, Googling “printable Valentines” yields countless options.

Whether going for conventional or think-outside-the-box special, this Valentine’s Day make a creative art of growing your child’s heart!