All things Valentine’s Day fill our supermarket shelves and our Friday folders. I have three classroom fliers referencing mailboxes, how many paper crafts to bring for school friends and which food dyes are permitted where.
I’ve written in the past about Valentine’s Day for parents and the challenge that it is to coordinate anything on a day of the year when every single couple is trying to do the exact same thing. Indoor picnics, celebrating on alternate dates, not celebrating at all: those are all viable possibilities if you can’t get a sitter, don’t want to face traffic or the stars just won’t align to make a night out feasible. If you’re looking for a list of local date night ideas specifically for this holiday, here’s MetroFamily’s list of what’s going on with all the best themed events.
What I haven’t really considered is how children view this date. They have the school celebrations but beyond that, how they view what we’re doing and what we prioritize matters too. Giving children an activity to participate in outside of school can be another connection point to the community they love. Kids don’t have to be at an age where romantic connections are the goal to reach out to others. My hope as a parent is that when they need friends and even community support later, especially when it’s not working out with one particular relationship, that good karma will somehow be returned.
Valentine’s can be so much more than what we receive.
Here are three ideas for kids to share the love this Valentine’s Day:
- Visit a local nursing home: If your child has leftover cards from school or loves to make crafts, check in with a local nursing home and ask the staff which residents never get visitors but would welcome your kids. Take 30 minutes to stop in and introduce yourselves. You might be surprised at the response both from the resident and from your child. Talking about the elderly in our community is easier when we know where to find them and what happens after a certain age. Not letting them be forgotten can show children what’s important beyond the day’s flowers and candy.
- Spend a Saturday at an animal shelter: Volunteering expands kids’ horizons and the need is pressing at local animal shelters beyond just the Christmas holiday. Donations start to drop off in the new year so Valentine’s is a great holiday to drop by with a donation and, if your child is old enough, walking and grooming duties can be a very hands-on way to get involved.
- Celebrate together: Make a day of it and find a local activity to enjoy as a family. From hot chocolate tastings to daddy/daughter and mother/son dances, there are ways to celebrate with others. Find out what’s happening near you with this list.
My one recommendation, no matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, is to decide what you’re doing early and make a reservation. Even the days before and after can get surprisingly full so buy tickets, reserve tables or just plan for another date before January ends.
If you’re looking for how to celebrate with your community any day of the year, check out MetroFamily’s calendar.
Happy Valentine’s Day!