When it comes to “Big Holidays,” Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly at the top of a lot of lists. Moreover, a lot of cynics dismiss it as a crass, commercial holiday that only exists to get us to spend money. And, OK, maybe, but a holiday that exists to celebrate love in the middle of the dreariest month of the year? I don’t know about you but I could use that pick-me-up! And no one loves sweet little holiday traditions like children: any deviation from their routine is something ripe for fun and excitement. Besides, there’s nothing saying you have to go all out or spend a ton of money to enjoy yourself. Go as big as you want... or keep that bar super low. Either way, I promise your kids are going to appreciate this touch of festivity.
Put a heart-shaped box of chocolates at their table setting.
This is something my parents did for my siblings and me when we were growing up and we always got really excited about it. It was never anything fancy — literally a small box of Russell Stover’s from the pharmacy or grocery store — but it was always so exciting to have that happy little box waiting for us at breakfast or dinner. You can go super fancy with this if you want — if you’re inclined to get your kiddo a big old box of hand-crafted, gourmet chocolates, follow your bliss! But know that you don’t have to go nuts with it: your kids will love it, no matter what.
Do a family Valentine’s Day card exchange.
Don’t sleep on the simple sweet fun of thoughtful cards to brighten up a holiday! All you need is some construction paper and crayons, but feel free to go all out with personally crafted mailboxes at their bedroom doors.
While you’re at it, use this time to make special Valentine’s Day storage for these sweet mementos. I like to put special cards I receive in a three ring binder inside page protectors so I can always read through them. It’s so cute to see how your kids grow through the cards they give, and kids certainly love to have little keepsakes and treasure chests. This also tees you up for an annual (go through old valentines) tradition in coming years.
Have fun with Valentine’s Day decorations.
Whether you want your house decked out like Cupid himself came by with a head full of ideas and a sack full of glitter or you just want to throw up a few construction paper hearts and call it a day, I promise, it’s going too make an impression on your kids. (And, just maybe, get you feeling festive as well.) Personally, I find this is best received when it’s a surprise. Finding the house looking festive when they wake up in the morning, for example, sets the day off to a great start.
Have a Valentine’s Day movie picnic.
Every Friday night, my kids enjoy a “movie night.” We eat dinner in the living room on a picnic blanket and watch a movie or two together. You’d think it would get old after a while, but we’ve been doing it for years and it’s still something special to the point that they get really disappointed if Friday evening plans interrupt the routine. So why not take this concept and make it Valentine’s Day themed? Watch a family-friendly movie about love and romance while you dine and/or cuddle up on the couch. It’s the perfect cozy night in.
Make some themed & heart-shaped foods.
This is a simple one, but it’s certainly effective. Whether you want to buy some heart-shaped donuts at the store or spend your morning putting together heart-shaped pancakes and sandwiches, it’s all good and will certainly be enjoyed and appreciated by your littles.
Write a list of the things you love about your kids.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...” Hopefully, we’re all telling our kids how much we love them every day, but sometimes we can’t get it all out the way we want to. So why not gift your child with a list of things you love about them. They will love to hear these things from you, but it will also show them the importance of sharing love and appreciation with others.
Dress for the Valentine’s Day you want.
Go ahead and splurge on that dress with all the hearts on it, or the Xs and Os t-shirt, or the adorable Valentine’s Day family pajamas. Sure, you’re buying an outfit effectively for one day, but there are no laws that say you can’t wear Valentine’s Day items all year long.
Share your love story.
My 9-year-old daughter is obsessed with what she calls “Life Stories.” It’s basically just things that happened to me and/or my husband before she was born. Like the time we went to Paris and I had to try to teach my husband basic French in case of an emergency. Or that prank my husband and his friends pulled on the headmaster of their school.
If you’re parenting with a partner, why not share your love stoy with your kiddos if you haven’t already: how you and your partner met, things you used to do for fun before kids, maybe even share a few wedding pictures or video. It’s a sweet way to enjoy Valentine’s Day.
Make some Valentine’s Day crafts.
If your child is the type who loves cutting, pasting, drawing, sculpting, or simply covering things in glitter, harness that passion for a fun holiday activity! This can be an ornate project you buy special materials for or just printing out some free Valentine’s Day coloring pages!
Have a Valentine’s Day dance party.
Whether you want to turn on the radio or curate your own romantic, kid-friendly playlist, there’s nothing that gets the wiggles out like a family dance party! Grab a partner or just have fun shaking your booty to your child’s favorite lovey-dovey songs.
Valentine’s Day can be whatever you make of it. If you want to celebrate with your kids, this list should inspire you with some simple and easy ideas that can definitely get more elaborate if you want them to.