Family Valentine’s Day Ideas

Valentine’s day is often not one of the “bigger” holidays (but if you’re a kid or chocoholic, it certainly can be one of the better ones).  Although in some parts of the world, Valentine’s day refers solely to the romantic love we imagine Cupid bestowing upon us, here in Canada, it has come to celebrate all kinds of love.  The love between parent and child, the love between friends, young love, old love, and any kind in between.  At school, kids hand out cute valentines to their classmates, perhaps sharing chocolates as well; for older folk, first dates take place under a canopy of romance or couples make the time for themselves to reconnect.  But what about the family?  One of the strongest bonds of love seems to suffice with some chocolate and “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

I propose we do more.  I propose that this Valentine’s day, we take the time to celebrate how much we love our kids and how important love is in general.  I have three things I plan on doing in our house this year (before hubby and I go out to enjoy a night out ourselves and reconnect) that I hope will make the day more fun for all and allow all members of the family to celebrate that ever-elusive yet wonderful thing called “love” (and chocolate).

  1. Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt. It’s a little different from a traditional scavenger hunt and I’m not sure it’s is even the right term to use, but here it is: As a parent, you likely have various things that you have saved up from your kids over the years, little things that remind you of them when they’re younger, things that you cherish and adore.  Now’s the time to bring them out and turn it into a game.  Hide the items, make a list and have your kid(s) hunt for them.  Once they’re out, spend some time telling your children about these items that were theirs, why they mean so much to you, and, if relevant, any stories surrounding them.  Hopefully our children know we love them, but this is one way to help make that very clear to them while involving them in the game and having some good family fun.  If you want, you can ask them to find one or two things that remind them special memories with you.

  2. Make Your Own Heart Chocolate. Yes, chocolate is the thing for Valentine’s day and as a family that is filled with love for chocolate, this is an activity we can do together that saves us money (no store bought chocolate here) and is fun.  There are tons of recipes online and it can be even easier if you buy just a big block of good chocolate (for us, it has to be dairy free so we buy good, dark chocolate), melt it down, then just reshape it.  You can make your own cut outs for the moulds or buy some cute ones, but making chocolate with kids is bound to be a good time for all.  (And just leave the clean up for another day!)

  3. Spread the Love. The thing about love is that we can all give it, no matter what, yet there are far too many people who do not feel it enough given to them.  This is a day to change that.  Sit down with the kids and come up with an idea of how to share love with someone you know who may be struggling.  It may be making a meal and bringing it over to an elderly neighbour who lives alone, it may be making and sending a gift or card to a friend far away who needs some extra support.  The fact is that I think every single one of us can think of at least one person in our lives who could use a little extra love and by helping our children think of the plights of others as well as how to help them, we are teaching them the essence of empathy, one of love’s greatest gifts.  It can also show them that we don’t need to move mountains to do something good, kind, and helpful.  Literally, a phone call or card can do wonders and our kids need to know that the small acts help.

So this Valentine’s Day, let’s make it about more than just chocolate and romance.  Let’s teach our children about love, show them our love, and also enjoy the chocolate and romance.  After all, you can never have enough chocolate.  Or love.

By Tracy Cassels

February 09, 2015