A heartfelt card, dinner at a romantic restaurant, and a bouquet of roses are common activities for Valentine’s Day. The day is perfectly tailored for a splurge on jewelry for a true love or even a marriage proposal. Valentine’s Day is the one holiday meant for couples in romantic relationships.
That is how most adults view the day except for parents. Parents know that there are other loved ones in their lives who also anxiously await the day. Children can get just as excited about Valentine’s Day as adults.
When they are young, children look forward to getting Valentine’s Day cards from friends and classmates. They also want to show off their Valentine’s Day shoebox for the cards and maybe even being able to eat some chocolates. As children get older and go into middle school, the day promises possibilities of secret admirers or romance.
Lost in all of this is the love that parents can show to their children on Valentine’s Day and beyond. Valentine’s Day is a good time for parents to think about the ways they show their love to their children. These ways are not typically flashy or some big event, they are a lot of little things that end up adding up over time.
One way for parents to show their love is to be mindful to use plenty of positive and encouraging words towards their children. The more specific the praise, the better children will respond. This will help children build their self-esteem and have the confidence to tackle life’s challenges.
On the other hand, the use of mockery or sarcasm can do the opposite. Children oftentimes will not understand the criticism or why parents may be doing it. It also sets up a negative style of communicating with each other which will only worsen over time.
Another way for parents to show their love is to make an extra effort to serve as a good role model for children on how to behave towards others. This can mean emphasizing good manners by saying “thank you” or “please”. Other ways can be seen by opening the door for others or assisting those who need a helping hand. These habits will encourage children to look toward others’ needs and not just their own.
Parents can also set aside a night per week for a family game night. This is a night the whole family can look forward to when electronic media and other obligations are put aside. Make sure to put the night on the calendar and have one family member be responsible for choosing the game or activity the family is going to participates in.
As parents’ lives get busy with work and other responsibilities, it can be hard to remember to carve out individual time with their children. While family time is good, sometimes children need one-on-one time with a parent. An outing with just one parent can lead to the special memories that children carry with them for the rest of their lives. It also allows for more intimate conversations that may be difficult to have with the whole family.
One more way parents can show their love to their children is to ensure that they stay healthy. This includes ensuring they make healthy food choices and have regular well child check-ups with their doctor.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday for romance and to show love to those we treasure. Parents should use a portion of the day to reflect on the little things that they can do throughout the year to make their children feel safe, cared for, and loved. The effort will pay off in more ways than you might know.
This article was published in the Richmond Register daily Friday on February 12, 2016.