Children on Valentine’s Day

February 14 is approaching, and it’s a day that parents think of fondly or with regret.  Whatever your own feelings, how do you help your children to enjoy this special day?

First of all, don’t make too much of it. It’s one of those many holidays that grace the calendar and can be the source of yet more stress and obligations, or just another chance to relax and be thankful for what we can enjoy in life.  So, if you don’t enjoy making cupcakes, by all means don’t volunteer to create custom cakes for the entire third grade class. 

Secondly, help your children to see this holiday as a time when everyone can feel valued and loved.  If your child’s kindergarten teacher school doesn’t specify that valentine cards must go to every member of the class, remind them of this standard etiquette. 

Third, create your own special rituals around this day, whether it’s a special breakfast before everyone heads off to school and work, or goofy cards that are created for each member of the family.   

Fourth, remember that teenage heartbreak is potent and, to the teenager, the worst thing he or she may have experienced yet.  As Valentine’s Day approaches, a teen whose latest romance has recently ended, will be particularly distressed.  No, they’ll tell you, they don’t want your help, but an extra hug, the willingness to listen (if you’re asked) and the sense of your support and affection might ease the pain a little.

Whether Valentine’s Day has been your favorite or your least-loved holiday, you can help your children to experience it as a day of feeling loved, experiencing friendship, and doing little things to bring brightness to a mid-winter day.