Valentine’s Day is a perfect holiday to show your child how much he or she is loved. Try these creative ideas to show how much you care on Valentine’s Day and any day throughout the year.
A heart a day Add a heart-shaped candy to your child’s lunch box every day of the school year. Be sure to stock up during clearances after Valentine’s Day so that you don’t run out.
Heart-shaped lunch Use a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter to make heart-shaped sandwiches, toast and other treats. Your kids will love the shape once you’ve eliminated the crust.
A cupful of love Give your child a “World’s Greatest Son,” “World’s Greatest Daughter” or “I Love You” cup. Use it when you serve hot cocoa or graham crackers and milk.
Do lunch Pick up your child from school for a surprise lunch date. Order carryout from your kid’s favorite restaurant or go on a picnic if the weather is pleasant.
The Written Word
A poet and didn’t know it You don’t have to be a poet to write a poem for your child. If poetry isn’t your strength, look up simple children’s rhymes. Then make revisions, especially for your child. Poems can be serious or fun, but either way, your child will love them.
A valentine welcome Welcome your child home from school with a Valentine banner across your front porch or entryway. Add cute sayings that remind your child why he or she is special. Create fun sentences by clipping words from magazine ads and add some Valentine doodles.
Snail mail surprise Kids love to get mail. Why not send your child a card, letter or postcard? Don’t forget to let your child check the mail to discover the greeting.
Say it with email Send your child an email with a link to a fun website or a funny animated e-greeting. With the abundance of entertaining websites and free e-greetings, you can send your child something new every day of the year.
Scrabble greetings Wish your child a “Happy Valentine’s Day,” congratulate him or her on a great report card, or show how much you appreciate your child’s help with a Scrabble message. For younger readers, spell out a simple phrase leaving a space between words. For older kids, make them figure out your greeting. Intersect the words as you would in playing Scrabble and see if they can solve the message.
C is for… Make a poster portraying your child’s characteristics. Put your child’s name at the top. List as many positive descriptive words as you can that begin with your child’s initial. Use a thesaurus to find oodles of words. For example, for Cassandra, you could have cute, caring, creative, crafty and curious. When you finish, laminate or frame it and hang it in your child’s room.
Poetry praise Give your child a poetry book written especially for sons or daughters such as “To My Son with Love” or “To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life,” written by Susan Polis Schultz. These books offer encouragement and a new understanding of your love for and commitment to your child. Don’t forget to add your personal inscription inside.
Do It Together
Love is silly One thing kids love and do best is act silly, so loosen up and join in the fun. If being silly isn’t your style, take a few lessons from your child and practice. Letting loose is a great way to reduce stress and to let your children know they’re fun to be around.
A gift of time For today’s busy parents, finding time to read to or play with your child isn’t always easy. Fortunately, quality, rather than quantity, is what matters most. Show your child you care by setting aside a few minutes each day to talk, read or play together. You’ll both reap the rewards.
A class connection As kids grow, together time becomes increasingly rare. Decide with your adolescent on an activity or hobby the two of you would enjoy together. Sign up for a class or set a regular schedule for the activity. Then mark it on your calendar.
A trip down memory lane Flip through photo albums or watch family videos together. Reminisce about favorite holidays, vacations and family times you’ve had together.
Eventful gifts Get tickets to a virtual concert or sporting event your kids have been dying to see. But keep it a surprise. On the day of the event, say you’re holding a family meeting or some other concoction. Catch your kids by surprise when you tune in to the event.
Make a date Plan a regular date with your child for one-on-one time. This strategy works exceptionally well for families with more than one child. Each parent should take a turn with each child. You can pick up carryout for lunch or supper, build a snowman together or take a wintery walk in the park. Set a regular schedule so that your child can look forward to your dates together.
Gifts from the Heart
Engrave your thoughts Have a necklace or bracelet engraved for your child. Be sure to include their name, your sentiments and who it’s from.
Van Gogh in the making Sift through your child’s art collection and select a piece to display. Then matte, frame and hang it in a room other than your child’s for everyone to see.
Photos say a thousand words Choose several pictures of your child from infancy through the present. Then use paper edgers and trim them into different sizes and shapes. Overlap and tape them to the backing of a frame using double-sided tape. Add matting and frame the collage.
It’s in the wrapping Don’t wait for a special occasion to give your child a gift. Kids love presents. The next time you pick up something for your child, wrap it as a surprise. Don’t forget the ribbon—the gift will take longer to unwrap with one—and include a small gift card that says how much you appreciate
Scrapbooking fun Put together a memory scrapbook of your child. Use photos, locks of hair, vacation postcards and ticket stubs. Dedicate each page to a special holiday, event or theme. Include dates and any details you remember, along with cute sayings and stickers to fit the themes.
A version of this story originally appeared in our February 2021 issue.