Friday, February 10, 2012

Will YOU be my Valentine?

Growing up, my mom would have a small present for each of us kids on the breakfast table on Valentine's Day. I always thought it was fun that we got to celebrate this holiday before the day had even begun! I knew from a young age that my mom loved me because of her thoughtful gifts.

Last year, the most special valentine was a card I received from my parents. In it, they expressed how they were proud of how I was doing in school and in my efforts to reach my fullest potential.  They expressed their love for me and wrote that they were happy to be my valentine until I found a spouse who could take over that role. This simple but sensitive gesture changed the way I understood my parents love for me. I am so grateful that we have a day to celebrate the beautiful emotion of love and care for the people around us.

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If your family doesn’t usually say “I love you” every day, I challenge you to at least say it to your immediate family members on Valentine’s Day. Find a spare moment to write a short note to each of your children, expressing your love for them and how they make you proud. Physical mementos that your children can keep, such as notes or pictures you give, are a concrete way for your young children to understand that you care about them deeply. Here are some other ways to express your love to your kids: 
  • Write “Mom and Dad love you” on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker or lipstick
  • Cut their sandwich or quesadilla into the shape of a heart for school lunch
  •  Put valentine confetti in their lunch bag (you can use the hole punches from red and pink paper)
  • Have a small gift or treat at the breakfast table with a love note attached
  •  Read a story book and snuggle with your child. Book ideas: “Love You Forever” by Sheila McGraw, or “Guess How Much I Love You” by Anita Jeram
  •  Make a valentine craft together, then give it to someone in the family. Craft ideas: a color a picture or coloring book page, video your child singing a song, make heart cookies or cupcakes, cut out hearts and tape them to the front door of your home or bedroom door of a sibling. 
 How do you express your love for your children each day? 
Do you have special Valentine’s Day traditions?

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