Fun Valentine’s Day Family Traditions

valentinesValentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, because it celebrates the purpose of life.

No, not chocolate, LOVE!

Parents often ask me how they can find time to deepen their connection with their children, given how busy they are. Because Valentines Day is all about love, it gives you the perfect opportunity to create more love in your family, not only between parent and child, but between siblings. We all need to be cherished. But despite our good intentions, too often we forget to tell the people we love just how precious they are to us. Valentines Day reminds us to tell all of our loved ones (not only our sweethearts) how glad we are that they’re in our lives. Want some simple ideas to celebrate Valentines Day, when you’re too busy, too broke, and maybe even too harried to remember that you really adore these people you live with?

  1. Rethink Gifts. Valentines Gifts are NEVER about the item or product. That teaches all the wrong lessons about love. Make this about the heart to heart expressions that build intimacy and connection. That means handmade cards, extra loving time together, or massages, not purchased gifts.
  2. Get up a few minutes early so you can enjoy opening each others’ Valentines at breakfast. Be sure to include something heart-shaped or sweet to eat.
  3. Let your kids know your love is with them all day…by tucking little construction paper hearts with love notes into their backpack, lunch, jacket pocket, etc for them to find throughout the day.
  4. At dinner, go around the table and give each person a chance to give an appreciation…to every other family member. They don’t have to be earth-shaking to strengthen relationships.

“I appreciate Eli for helping me with my homework….I appreciate Mom for spending special time with me at bedtime….I appreciate Dad for always being cheerful….I appreciate myself for getting out of the house on time in the morning.”

  1. Find five minutes to spend by yourself giving thanks for those you love. One at a time, visualize yourself hugging them, and them beaming back at you. Let the infinite tenderness of your love for them wash over you. Ask for help to let go of anything that gets in the way of being close to this person, who is so precious to you.

(Does the idea of asking for help bother you? It doesn’t have to be God, or even the healing spirit of the universe, that you’re talking to. It could simply be your own deepest wisdom, which is also the heart of love. The interesting thing about asking for help in this way is that, at least in my experience, it always works…although not necessarily as we would have expected.)

  1. Your kids can make very simple Valentines for their class…which do so much more to fill kids’ cups than the store-bought “fast-food” ones. Just cut out hearts, or run them out of the computer. Your child can color and decorate and elaborate as much or little as he wants. Or take your child’s drawing and have it color-xeroxed with red ink, then just write in the names.
  2. Need candy to make the day complete? In our house, sweets were never a major part of valentines day, but my kids certainly came home from school with treats, and we often make cookies if we can find the time. Be aware that teachers say the red dye is worse than the sugar in setting kids off, and scientists think it is pretty bad for you. Chocolate, on the other hand, is the perfect food, according to the strictly unscientific research I’ve conducted.
  3. Sound surround yourself with love. This is the day for your Love Song playlist. Skip the heartbroken ones and go straight for celebration, all day long!
  4. Love in Practice. If you’d like your kids to take pride in making the world a better place, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to express love for others by taking valentines goodies or homemade valentines to a nursing home, hospital, or soup kitchen. As four wise teachers once said, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

However you decide to celebrate, I hope February 14 brings more love into your life. Happy Valentines Day!


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