This Valentine’s Day will be like no other for many moms and dads. This is the first VDay since the pandemic came to the US, and many families have limited childcare options and few places that feel safe to go out and celebrate.
Instead of packing the diaper bag and handing it over to a babysitter for the evening, it means a lot of families will be at home with the kids.
Alone-time without kids is so important for parents, and it’s frustrating when there’s so little opportunity for it. However, there are still ways to bring your kids into the celebration and make the most of the situation during these unprecedented times.
Who knows, maybe your family will really enjoy these experiences and you can make it an annual event!
Maybe your kids are missing out on exchanging valentines with their buddies this year. Instead of having an exchange at school, each family member can make valentines for each other as a group craft. Sit down at the table and spread cut out hearts, stickers, markers, glitter glue – whatever you have and start decorating. For young kids, it’s also a great way to practice writing.
There are many other Valentine’s crafts your kids can enjoy in addition to making homemade valentines. PBS has a lot of fantastic ideas for children of different ages. Choose from egg carton hearts, hanger heart wreaths, fairy houses and much more!
Cook Dinner & Treats Together
Many kids love to help cook, and letting them contribute not only gives them a sense of accomplishment, it makes them more likely to try new foods. Choose a dinner menu your family will love (here’s a cute Valentine menu idea from Eating Well including heart-shaped fruit kabobs and a heart shaped pizza). Then assign tasks that your kids can do like grating & sprinkling cheese, throwing in spices, letting them stir, or rolling dough.
And of course, what would any Valentine’s Day be without the sweets! There’s so many options to do together with the kids. You can find a wonderful Valentine’s cookie set at Sid & Rye Treats that has everything you need! In this same vein, you can also pick your family’s favorite cake or cupcakes and let the kids add ingredients to the mixer, as well as adding the frosting and Vday sprinkles. For breakfast, try Ambitious Kitchen’s Red Velvet Donuts with cream cheese frosting. If you already have a donut pan, it is super simple to make together!
Go On A Family Excursion
Take the family outside and get some fresh air this Valentine’s Day. Pack up the dinner or lunch you made together and go for a picnic! Or keep it simple and grab your smallest diaper bag (like a Kibou) packed with just the essentials and go for a nature walk, or head to an open field and fly a kite.
With all of the increased time we’re spending indoors, a group outing may be just what your family needs to blow off some steam and feel refreshed! If you don’t feel like cooking, order something to-go and pick it up on the way home.
Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
If you’re in a home with two parents, do your kids know how you met? So many kids LOVE to see old pictures of moms and dads together when they were first dating. Pull up some old photos you have with your spouse/partner and show them to the kids. Stroll down memory lane while telling them stories about those times. It will also be enjoyable (if not more enjoyable) for the adults to reminisce together.
If this is not applicable for your family, you can also peruse through old photos of you and your child together! Relive those first moments you fell in love with your child over-and-over again. Kids are often fascinated with their own baby pictures.
Watch a Family-Friendly Romantic Movie
A great way to wrap-up the day is to watch a family-friendly romantic movie. Of course, the older your kids the more options you will have!
There are a lot of different lists out there for you to browse and find the right film for everyone to enjoy. This list of clean romantic movies from Common Sense Media has movies for preschoolers all the way through teens. For those of you with older kids, this list of romantic comedies has a mix of classic and contemporary favorites for your family.
While you may not get your ideal Valentine’s Day this year, the glass-half-full view is that it is a chance to make happy memories with your little ones. It’s true that crafts and cooking with kids can be messy, but the mess isn’t what anyone will remember. They’ll remember the hugs, laughs, and mixing-bowl spoon licks.
Of course you should acknowledge and celebrate your love for your spouse/partner on Valentine’s Day, it's just that this year the kids are joining in the fun. This year, Valentine’s Day can spread beyond romantic love and be a celebration of a family’s love, in all of its various forms.Photos courtesy of Rinck Content Studio, Jeshoots, Annie Spratt, Albuu Design Albums via unsplash.com