Valentine’s Day has always been a tricky day for new parents. How are you supposed to celebrate the holiday with your children? Chocolate? Toys? Both?
You can’t ignore it. The decorations are in every store. The ads on TV and Radio are talking about it. The schools are celebrating it. Your kids know it is coming.
You can’t avoid it. Other kids are celebrating with their parents and classmates.
You can’t dismiss it as no big deal. Love is a HUGE deal, and this holiday has love at its celebratory core.
The best thing to do is embrace it and make it unique holiday with its own special meanings and traditions. The holiday is about love so use it to teach about the different aspects of love. Use it to teach your kids about caring and inclusion. Use it to teach your kids about sacrifice and helping. Use it to teach your kids about kindness.
Inclusion and Kindness
If the school is celebrating, everyone in the class gets a valentine card. Everyone. This is a good opportunity to teach your children that while all of us are unique, all of us are still humans and still special in our unique way. Show them how inclusion is an act of kindness and leads to greater understanding in the world.
Gifts of Caring
While chocolate, flowers, and jewelry may be the top gifts for adults, only the chocolate is appropriate for young children. Many parents struggle with the dilemma of giving too much chocolate, especially with Christmas being only seven weeks ago.
One solution is toys and books. But then it becomes more like Christmas and Easter. If you truly want to make the holiday special and unique, tie the gifts into the idea of love. One toy or book that fits with a toy or theme they really love, and one gift on their behalf.
In fact, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time for them to “donate” an old toy to charity. They have their new toys from Christmas and time to evaluate what they are no longer playing with. Show them how giving is one of the greatest ways to show love by having them donate a toy to charity.
(PS This works doubly to help you figure out which toys they really “love” so you can find them the perfect new item, while also clearing out the toy box.)
Acts of Service
St. Valentine was a 3rd Century priest of Rome who would not renounce his Christian faith. He became the symbol for Love because he secretly performed Christian Weddings that were outlawed at the time. He was a servant.
Valentine’s Day is a good day to teach about the Love shown through acts of service to others. Start by making it a day to do nice things for each other at home. As your children age, you can expand that to volunteering outside the home.
Valentine’s Day – A Day of Love
Love is a many splendor thing. Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to start teaching your children many of those other splendors like caring and serving. You’ll have plenty of time later to teach the intimate stuff.
A little chocolate, a little gift, a little charity, and a lot of little acts of kindness. That’s how you make this holiday a special one.
Phil Wrzesinski, National Sales Manager, HABA USA
Phil, like his grandfather and father before him, has been in the toy industry his entire life, helping thousands of parents make the best choices of toys for their kids.