Growing up, I don’t recall my family doing much by way of Valentine’s Day at home. Anything that I received came from school, where we made cereal box “mailboxes” that kids dumped little cards and candies into. And that was that.
In today’s parenting world, I see so many social media posts highlighting Valentine’s Day at home for kids. There’s heart-shaped foods, balloons, gifts, and other treats to make the day special. I also see myriad comments both praising and blasting these efforts. Let me be clear on my stance: I love that for families. I think it’s sweet when parents are able to go above and beyond to do something special for their kids.
For me, though, I have to decide when I have the bandwidth for going above and beyond, and usually, Valentine’s Day is not one of those times. On a school day in the middle of February, I have yet to have the wherewithal to make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, you know? But there is one small thing I put together every evening before Valentine’s Day and set out at the kitchen table for my kids to discover in the morning. It’s so easy, I guarantee you can do it yourself this year, too!
I take pieces of red construction paper (or any paper you have on hand will do!) and cut out a big heart for each child. Then, I write their name on the heart and fill it with adjectives describing all the wonderful and unique qualities I love about each of them.
It’s ridiculously easy, but my kids’ reactions are always so disproportionately wonderful compared to the effort it takes me. My children treasure these comments and love to look at their siblings’ Valentines and add compliments and qualities they admire in each other. Last year, I paired small drugstore necklaces with the Valentines, but the Valentines were clearly the winners. They barely glanced at the necklaces in their eagerness to read their Valentines from their parents.
I love doing this for my kids, because I love building them up and reminding them of the goodness their dad and I see in them. It’s my favorite way to celebrate the day with them without overextending myself. If you decide to do this with your kids, you can fancy it up as much as you want– pair it with heart-shaped confetti, or use it as a placemat for those heart-shaped pancakes, or alongside chocolate covered strawberries, or tied to a big heart balloon. No matter how you present it, this kind of Valentine is sure to make a big impact on your kids.