Five Heartfelt Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day with Kids
For most kids, Valentine's Day is all about heart-shaped candy, crafts and chocolates. Of course, these are usually given and received in conjunction with some acknowledgment of love, be it romantic or familial. Certainly, there's nothing wrong with enjoying Valentine's Day traditions, but love encompasses so much more than any candy, card, or teddy bear could do justice! Below are some ideas for helping kids understand love in a more universal sense.
1. Activities That Promote Self-Love
We've all heard it a thousand times, but the fact remains: you can't truly love someone else until you learn to love yourself. Sounds easy enough, yet self-love is something most of us struggle with well into adulthood. So how can we help children develop something we may not fully have a grasp on ourselves? Well, the great thing about self-love is that it doesn't require us to. Self-love is all about self-acceptance - including accepting the things we still may need to work on!
Mom Junction offers some fantastic ideas for activities that are meant to boost self-esteem (a critical element in developing self-love). We especially like number 8 because it offers adults the chance to show children that developing self-love is an ongoing process, and one that works best when we share our journey with those who support us most.
2. Books That Showcase Universal Love
Valentine's Day tends to focus on romantic and familial love, but it's important for kids to understand that there is love all around us in the world! Whether you adhere to a religion, have your own spirituality, or don't particularly believe in anything at all, there are plenty of wonderful books to read with kids that help them understand the universal love that connects all human beings. Here are a few of our favorites: The Giving Tree, Absurdimals - Lola Goes to School, Love Is, Words and Your Heart, Everyone Says I Love You.
Nothing can describe how good selfless love feels, so why not let your kids experience it for themselves? Depending on their age, kids can volunteer in any number of ways from helping out at animal shelters or food kitchens, to simply donating toys to orphanages and playing with other kids their age. The important thing is that they get the opportunity to appreciate the humanity in all living beings, and feel the purity of joy that comes from making someone else's day a little better.
4. Activities You Love Doing Together
Make Valentine's Day even more personal by celebrating it with the activities that mean the most to you. Whether that's baking, singing, dancing, painting, or bowling with your kids - just enjoy the things you love to do together! Love engraves itself into the everyday experiences we share with one another when we are our most vulnerable and authentic selves.
Have a family with a competitive streak? Use that ambition to push yourselves to do at least one kind thing for someone else every day in the week leading up to Valentine's Day. Challenge kids to focus on peers other than their closest friends - bonus points if they do something nice for someone who hasn't been particularly nice to them! At the end of the week, share your experiences and discuss how they made you feel. Who knows, it may just spark the beginning of some new, very positive, habits.