Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to show your child just how much he or she is loved. Use these creative ideas to show how much you care now and throughout the year.
Lovely Lunches. Add a shaped candy to your child’s lunch box. Stock up during after-Valentine’s Day sales so you don’t run out. Or use a large, heart-shaped cookie cutter to make heart-shaped sandwiches, toast and other treats. Your kids will love the shape and that you’ve eliminated the crust.
Cupful of Love. Give your child a “World’s Greatest Son/Daughter” or “I Love You” cup, and use it when you serve hot cocoa or graham crackers and milk.
“Do” Lunch. Hit her favorite fast-food joint, go on a picnic or have lunch at school. (If you choose the latter, make sure your child won’t mind, to avoid social embarrassment.)
Poet and Didn’t Know It. Write a poem for your child. If poetry isn’t your thing, look up simple children’s rhymes and customize. Poems can be serious or fun, but either way, your child will love it.
Valentine Welcome. Welcome your child home with a valentine banner across your front porch.
Snail Mail Surprise. Kids love to get mail, so send a card or letter. Don’t forget to let her check the mail to discover the greeting herself.
Say It with Email. Send your child an email with a link to a fun website or a funny e-greeting.
Scrabble Greetings. Wish your child a “Happy Valentine’s Day” with a Scrabble tile 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 the game.
C is for… Make a poster listing your child’s characteristics. Put her name at the top and then list as many positive descriptive words as you can that begin with her initial. Use a thesaurus to find oodles of words. (Example: Cassandra, cute, caring, creative, crafty and curious.) Laminate or frame it and hang it in her room.
Poetic Praise. Give your child a poetry book written especially for sons or daughters. To My Son with Love or To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life, written by Susan Polis Schultz, offer encouragement and a new understanding of your love and commitment.
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, practice up. Letting loose is a great way to de-stress and to let your child know he’s fun to be around.
Gift of Time. 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.
Class Connection. As kids grow, together time becomes increasingly rare. Together, decide on an activity the two of you would enjoy. Sign up for a class or set a regular schedule for the activity and mark it on your calendar. Treat it as you would any other commitment.
Eventful Gifts. Secretly buy tickets to a concert, ice show or sporting event your kids have been dying to see. On the day of the event, just say you’re all going out for dinner or some other concoction, then enjoy the surprise when you arrive at your true destination.
Make a Date. Plan a regular date for one-on-one time. This works especially well for families with more than one child. Each parent should take a turn with each child and go play putt-putt golf, take in a movie, go roller-skating or spend an afternoon at the park. Set a regular schedule so your child can look forward to your dates together.
Gifts from the Heart
For Her or For Him. Cut fresh flowers for your daughter, to brighten her room and her day. Clip sports cars from magazines for your son, and post them on a bulletin board in his room.
Engrave Your Thoughts. Have a necklace or bracelet engraved for your child. Be sure to include his name, your sentiments and whom it’s from.
Van Gogh in the Making. Sift through your child’s art collection and select a piece to display. Matte, frame and hang it in a room—other than your child’s—for everyone to see.
Worth a Thousand Words. Choose photos of your child from infancy to present, then trim them into different sizes and shapes. Overlap and tape them to the backing of a frame using double-sided tape, then frame.
It’s in the Wrapping. Don’t wait for a special occasion to give a gift. Pick up something for your child and wrap it as a surprise. Don’t forget the ribbon (so it takes longer to unwrap) and include a gift card with a sweet message.
Scrapbookin’ Fun. Put together a memory scrapbook. Use photos, vacation postcards and ticket stubs. Dedicate each page to a holiday, event or theme. Include dates and any details you remember, along with cute sayings and stickers.
Kimberly Blaker is an author and freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in more than 200 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines, and other publications.