Valentine’s day is for couples… or is it?
When it comes to celebrating love, why should we limit ourselves to romantic love? The majority of people say that they’d prefer to save their kids than their partner. It’s a different kind of love indeed, but it’s definitely a stronger kind of love. For parents and caretakers, here’s how you can and why you should celebrate Valentine’s day with your little ones by showing them all the love with all the fibers of your body!
When kids are young it’s important to demonstrate love. We aren’t talking about love on Valentine’s day, but consistent love all year round. Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain by Sue Gerhardt explains the science behind love in the early stages of brain development. Early interactions, even in the womb matter and will have a strong impact on the baby’s brain and immune system. The parents’ love or lack thereof will impact the baby’s attachment style. Infant care must include love because if the baby doesn’t feel securely attached to a parent or a caretaker, s/he will be more likely to develop a range of emotional disorders including depression, addictions and anti-social behavior.
Depending on your cultural upbringing or unique background, you might display love in your own unique way. Gary Chapman wrote 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret To Loving Children Effectively and it’s a #1 New York Times bestseller. In this book, you’ll find great tips to build a loving relationship with your kids. Unsurprisingly, your work centers around communication and speaking the same love language. Chapman’s theory explains that we demonstrate love in 5 different ways: through physical touch, emotional words, acts of services, time and gifts. Everyone has a different ranking and it’s important to discover your child’s main love language to adjust the communication with him or her.
To combine the importance of showing love and to speak the right kind of love language to your child, here’s a list of fun activities to celebrate love:
There’s no better straight-forward way to say I love you than through food. Instead of cooking a regular meal, make something special for the family. Indulge in foods that you aren’t used to have and discover new flavors together. This is the perfect occasion to give quality time and physical touch to your kids.
Pick a gift together
If you’re into gift exchange for Valentine’s day, you can involve your kids into the making or choosing of that gift. Now that you’ve broadened the family, you can engage participation to make your kids feel responsible for this important love mission. They may also participate in gift exchange with their classmates, family members, friends, neighbors etc. It’s a US school tradition to gather nice little notes for other classmates, it’s a really cute gesture that can mean a lot for kids who usually don’t receive a lot of attention or those who get bullied.
Decorate your home
Kids love to use their imagination and creativity for play. To have a successful celebration, invite your kids to put up decorations and make beautiful drawings or paintings for the wall. This will lighten the mood at home and make them feel appreciated. Compliment them for their art, it’s a great love language to use words of encouragement!
Watch a movie at home
If your family is into cinema, watch a movie of your liking. If a movie character is hugging, kissing or wearing red/pink, give a hug to somebody. This promotes physical touch and can be a playful game to kids who like to get cuddles.
Play games to encourage acts of kindness
If you’d like to show acts of services, turn it into a fun and loving game. You can take this day to collect foods for underserved community and volunteer at a soup kitchen. You may also spend the day picking up trash at a beach or a forest. You can also suggest donating extra clothes or books to people who can’t afford it. Write kind notes or drawings for the mailman or the trash collector.
Take time for yourself
Although Valentine’s day can be shared with kids, don’t forget to treat yourself as well. Whether you’re solo or with a partner, make sure to give yourself some time to appreciate this moment and feel gratitude and self-love. When kids go to bed early, pop a bottle of champagne and take a relaxing bath.
In conclusion, Valentine’s day is about love, so is every day of the year. It’s crucial for kids’ development to include love in most activities to make them feel securely attached. Enjoy Valentine’s day as a family, with a partner or solo, and may you spread the love as much as you can!