5 Valentines to Give Your Kids

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A woman looking at a valentine card with her daughter. Valentines to Give Your Kids.

Your parenting experience is an impactful contributor to your overall well-being. The purpose of parental self-care is to allow you, as a parent and caregiver, to nurture and enjoy the relationships you have with each of your children.  Holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, can provide valuable opportunities to invest in the bond you have with your kids.

In busy seasons of life, it may feel like all you can manage to prepare are the same old valentines to give your kids.  Candy and teddy bears get the job done, but what if you could give your kids easy, affordable, and quality valentines they will love and remember for years to come?


Below, are my top 5 valentines to give your kids that will not only make them feel loved but cherished.


Valentine #1 - A special day out with you:

When life is crazy and you are always on the go, it can feel as if your kids are getting the short end of the stick. Your child(ren) with complex care needs might be getting a lot of one-on-one time with you, but it's all in the form of appointments or driving back and forth to therapies. Their siblings may not be getting much one-on-one time at all.  Rather than allowing the guilt to fester, use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to set aside some one-on-one time with each of your children during the coming year.

A regular old Valentine card will fall flat, but turn it into a promise of a special one-on-one day out with you and that will get their attention!

A few years ago I started the tradition of giving each of my children a Valentine’s Day card that became their “ticket”, if you will, to a one-on-one date with me.  The “ticket” gave myself, and each of my children, the next 12 months to find an opportunity to enjoy an event or activity together, just the two of us. Throughout the next year, I would look for movies, plays, events and activities that my child enjoys, that was unique to their individual interests. Then, when the opportunity came up, I made the arrangements to enjoy that activity with them.

I almost never had these dates planned out before I gave the card to them, on Valentine’s Day.  The flexibility made it an easy gift to pull together and took the pressure off of having to meet all four children’s needs on one day. It also gave my kids the opportunity to help pick out which experience they most wanted to share with me.

We have done everything from movies, concerts and plays, to makeovers and museums, etc. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make these dates memorable. The sky is the limit for quality activities and experiences your child will love.

For example: Take your child on a one-on-one bike ride, fishing, hiking or camping.  Do you have an artistic or crafty child? Purchase a couple of sketch books and some colored pencils and pick a pretty spot for a picnic and sketch. Buy some fabric or yarn and teach them how to crochet or sew.  Think of the activities you wish you had more time to share with your child, as an individual, and make that your day with them.  Just make sure it is something they will really enjoy sharing with you as well.



The key is to make sure that you follow through sometime during the year and that your child knows you have kept your promise to spend a special day with them.  When you do, they will be looking forward to receiving another day out with you next year!


Valentine #2 - 14 things you love about them:


Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to fill up your child’s emotional bucket by expressing those thoughts and feelings you have about them all the time, but may not say out loud as often as you would like.

Take some time to think about each of your children individually, their quirks and gifts, their expressions and personalities.  For each child, write down 14 things you love about them and keep your list(s) handy.  Starting on February 1st, tell your child one of the things you love about them each day leading up to Valentine’s Day.

How you choose to go about doing this may depend on your child’s age:

If they are teens, who are always on the go and who you hardly ever see, a text message or a note on the bathroom mirror, etc. might be the most effective.

For grade school kids who can read, hiding a note in their lunchbox, school bag or next to their spot, at breakfast, makes for a fun surprise.

If your child is not reading yet, just telling them what you love about them will communicate love to them even if they are not able to fully understand the words. Another option for younger children who are learning their words, is to think of just one word that describes them and then teach them what that word means and why it is something special about them.

This option for valentines to give your kids, is great because it is so flexible. You can prepare for it ahead of time and get as creative in the delivery as you want or you can keep it simple and cost free.  You can spread it out over 14 days or save all your compliments for Valentine’s Day.  Either way, your kids are going to LOVE all the extra love!


Valentine #3 - A communication notebook:


Another great alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day card, a communication notebook is a creative way to encourage your child to write down and share their thoughts and feelings with you. 

The idea behind a communication notebook is to carry on an ongoing conversation with your child in written form. You will start the conversation by writing your child a message and then handing the notebook over for them to read. Then, they will write their own message in reply. The notebook is passed back and forth in this way, over and over, to keep the communication going as desired.

This notebook is meant to remain private between only you and your child. This privacy encourages your child to share and ask questions they may not be comfortable bringing up to you in person, or to simply share their thoughts with you freely.  It can be particularly helpful if you have a child who has trouble opening up, expressing their feelings out loud or even just putting their thoughts into words on the spot.  

A conversation notebook can also be a great tool to stay connected with your child if you are a parent who needs to spend time away for work or for medical reasons. It can be a wonderful way for your child to collect their thoughts and questions and record events that they want to remember to share with you later. 

For children old enough to read and write, a colorful composition note book works great for this. Label it with their name and start it off with your first message, explaining what the notebook is for and how you look forward to reading anything they have to share with you.  You may also want to let them know that what they share is just between the two of you.

If your child is younger and cannot yet read or write, a sketchbook works great.  A picture is worth a thousand words and kids can communicate a whole lot through their drawings. They will love “writing” back and forth with you and having your full attention as they show you what they have drawn.

The key is to always respond when they write to you.  It does not have to be a daily or even a weekly thing.  A communication notebook is simply a tool you can introduce to help encourage communication with your child and to provide another opportunity to nurture your relationship. Every kid is going to respond to it differently.  While one may really embrace this approach, another may not.  Try it out and see how it works for you and your child. Don’t be afraid to let it go if it doesn’t.


Valentine #4 - A collection of your 14 favorite pictures of them:

If your kids are anything like mine they love to look at pictures and mementos from when they were small. They love to hear about the stories and details behind every picture. This helps to give them a sense their place in our family and reinforces that they are an important part of our family activities and memories.

A great option for valentines to give your kids this year, is a small, personalized collection of your favorite pictures of your child. A poster collage or small photo book, as opposed to digital copies, is a a great gift for kids as it is something tactile they can hold in their hands. Your child will want to hold the pictures themselves and look at them often so make sure you are giving them copies that can be damaged by repeated handling without a problem. 

Take the time to sit down with your child and tell them about why you chose each picture. Does the picture capture a physical feature that is unique to them or an expression that they used to make? Does it show a toy that used to be special, a place you used to visit, or the first time they did something new? Choose 14 photos (or however many you want) that have a special memory or story attached to it. They will love it!

Valentine #5 - Valentine Theme Family Fun Night:

Another great idea for Valentines to give your kids, is to surprise them with your very own Valentine's Day family fun night and enjoy some quality time together.

Make a collection of Valentine games, activities, decorations and movies, etc.  Put the items together in a box or gift bag to present to your kids. Then, set aside a night near Valentine’s Day to spend together, as a family. Here are some ideas to get you started:






Your kids will enjoy the anticipation as they look forward to a special night of family togetherness. They may even enjoy helping to plan and prepare so consider saving some special jobs just for them.

I love these five ideas for valentines to give your kids because they intentionally focus on nurturing the connection you have with your child(ren). As human beings, we all have an inherent need to feel safe and loved. However, when life is perpetually uncertain, when our normalcy and security have been shaken, it is especially important to regularly reinforce the bond we have with our children for their sake, and for our own.



Self-Care Action Discussed in this Post:

Choose just one of these simple, high quality valentines to give your kids to nurture your parent/child relationship and to help reinforce the bond you share.



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