Gifting cards and candy to classmates on Valentine's Day is a fun activity that has been enjoyed by children for many years. Picking out cards with cute animals or cool characters on a special trip to the store with mom or dad is exciting for elementary-aged kids. Choosing a candy or small treat to give out along with the cards makes the experience even more fun. Most kids are thrilled with their small gifts and excited to add their name, hand them to friends, and receive tons of candy and toys in return on February 14th. For many young people, this is what Valentine's Day is all about.
These store-bought Valentine cards are great, but it is important to teach our children that Valentine's Day is not all about giving and receiving costly trinkets. As parents, it is our job to help our children find additional or alternative ways to show love and appreciation to family and friends on Valentine's Day and continuously throughout the year. We can do this by setting an example for our kids and talking with them on a regular basis about thinking about the feelings of others.
Acts of kindness are an excellent way to tell someone how much you love them without speaking and without spending any money. Teach your children that actions speak louder than words by exhibiting thoughtful actions yourself and encouraging your little ones to do kind things for others any time the opportunity arises.
Help them make special Valentine's Day gifts for close friends and family that include "coupons" to have tasks carried out by the giver. Tasks could include giving a manicure, washing dishes, taking out the trash, or anything else your child thinks the recipient might appreciate. Be sure to help them keep it age-appropriate, as some kids might be a little overly ambitious.
Homemade cards are much more thoughtful and personal than the store-bought versions. They are also a blast to make, and the process of making each card helps kids really stop and think about what an individual friend might like. There are hundreds of great handmade Valentine's Day card ideas all over the internet and in countless books and magazines. Some of my favorite cards include suckers made into superheros, paper airplanes with messages such as "You make me soar!" and robots made of tiny chocolate bars. Run a quick internet search to help spur a craft idea and see what you can come up with. Keep in mind, even the simplest card can leave the recipient smiling and the creator beaming with pride.
Baked treats are a perfect way to tell someone you love them. While most schools will not allow children to hand out homemade food items, baked goods are an excellent gift idea for grandparents and other family members. Cookies, cakes, breads, and cupcakes are all easy to make. With a simple enough recipe and a little help with the oven, many children will be able to make these treats almost entirely on their own. Better yet, you can jump in for some wonderful bonding time with your little one. When the desserts are finished, wrap them in pretty paper or put them in a nice tin for delivery. Grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles everywhere will be thrilled with their extra-special homemade gifts.
Help your children spread their love even further by helping them provide homemade cards, treats, and love to those in need or those in less fortunate situations. Nursing homes love to have children visit, and the residents of these homes will be thrilled with the gifts your little one makes. Food kitchens always need volunteers, and the folks at those kitchens will love to see your child's smiling face. Think about who you can help, and assist your child in bringing a bit of cheer to the Valentine's Day of others.
By using the ideas above, you will be giving your children the best Valentine's Day gift they could ask for: The joy of putting a smile on someone else's face.