Valentine’s Day conjures up images of boxes of chocolate, red roses, cards, and romantic dinners. But don’t miss this yearly opportunity to help your children learn the art of encouragement, compliment-giving and expression of love for others. Below are three fun Valentine’s Day activities to help you do just that.
Create a Love Note Box
You will need the following materials:
1 old shoe box with lid
Take the shoebox and cover it and it’s lid separately with a seasonally appropriate wrapping paper (red, hearts, kisses, etc.). Alternatively, you could wrap it in craft paper or a paper grocery bag and have your children decorate it with Valentine’s stickers and drawings. Cut a slit in the lid big enough for a piece of paper to slip through. Next, using a sharpened pencil, poke a hole through one corner of the lid to create a holder for the pencil. Select a small notepad and tape it to the top. Place the box in a conspicuous place in your home the week before Valentine’s Day. Each day, family members can rip off a piece of note paper, write a message to a loved one and slip it inside the box. For children who can’t write, offer to write the notes for them. Messages can include statements like: “Mom, thanks for always making my lunch. I appreciate you” or “Sally, I like riding bikes with you.” See if you can use up the whole notepad!
Play the compliment game
On Valentine’s Day, challenge each family member to give one another as many compliments as possible. However, don’t assume that your children know what constitutes a compliment. Explain that a compliment means the most when it is reflective of someone’s character (friendly, helpful, funny, etc.) rather than his or her physical appearance. Teach your children how to respond when they receive a compliment as well. You can also use the opportunity to point out the different ways you have seen the Lord working in the lives of your children (for example: “I can see God working in you because I have noticed that you are choosing to obey the first time.”). See who can give the most meaningful compliments or observations in one day!
Make a special treat together
Use your favorite rolled cookie dough recipe and make heart shaped cookies and decorate them together. Or, dip strawberries in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to cool. After dinner on Valentine’s Day, enjoy your treat as a family and open the Love Note Box. Take turns pulling out the notes and passing it to the person who wrote it. Have the author read the note. Gently encourage your children to make eye contact with the recipient while reading the note. This will help them begin to develop a greater level of comfort sharing their feelings with others.
These activities can teach your children humility (for some, there is nothing harder than giving a compliment) and will give them some practice looking “outside” of themselves. So this year, make Valentine’s Day special for everyone in your family. You may find that the skills your children learn carry over into the rest of the year as well.