As a little girl, one of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day (besides the chocolate of course!), was picking out Valentine cards for my classmates. I thought long and hard about which card would go to which friend or which boy. Sending the right message was of the utmost importance to me.
Once I got married, I felt the same way. I spent too long (and still do) picking out the right card at Hallmark, hoping to find the perfect card with the perfect words. I want to convey how important the love of my life is to me.
And now as a parent, I am still looking for the ideal ways to convey my love to my children on Valentine’s Day. Sure, this day is one that is universally considered a day about romantic love, but parents can still use this day as an opportunity to let our children know they are valued, cherished, and of course, loved too.
Heart Attack—A Valentine’s Tradition
Several years ago, for Valentine's Day, my husband and I started a new tradition we affectionately call, “Heart Attack!” In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, okay, who am I kidding, usually the night before Valentine’s Day, I will cut out different colored hearts, varying in size, from construction paper. On each heart, I will write a personality trait that represents each of our children well. For example, one heart may simply have the word “funny” on it. I aim for 6-8 hearts per child (and with 4 children, that’s a lot of hearts). Once our children are asleep, we tape the hearts to the outside of their door. When they wake up they have a “Heart Attack!” Two of our children share a room, but it’s easy to color-code their words, so they know which hearts are tailored to them! “Heart Attack” is a fun, simple way to send a positive and encouraging message to each of our children, letting them know how unique and special they are.
Marbled Hearts—A craft full of love
There are plenty of Valentine’s crafts to be attempted and enjoyed, but our family’s favorite craft to make each year is Marbled Hearts. We love the creativity that the craft brings out in each child and how each heart we make is unique
Here’s what you need. . .
—Polymer clay in a variety of colors (you can find this in a 5-6 color pack)
—heart shaped cookie cutter
It just takes a quick run to your craft store for polymer clay in several colors—color choice does not matter, but the more the prettier! Once you are ready to craft, simply knead the clay to make it soft and pliable. Lay out the wax paper and break off pieces from each color of clay, pressing them next to each other. Be sure the colors are touching, beside each other, around each other, however you choose, and then use a rolling pin to make them about 1/4 of an inch thick. Once you have the clay designed and laid out, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart shape in the clay. Set aside the heart on a cookie sheet. Continue the process of kneading the clay and making different multi-colored heart shapes. Once you have the hearts you desire, bake as directed according the polymer clay package. When finished, you will have flat, hardened, clay hearts that can be kept or given as tokens of love. We choose to super glue our hearts to strips of paper with messages of love and give them to grandparents, teachers, friends, etc. Or, before baking, you can use a toothpick and make a hole near the top of the hearts. Once baked the hole will remain and you can tie a ribbon or yarn through the hole, making another way to spread the love! Marbled hearts are such a fun, easy and creative way to express our love for others!
However you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children, whether with a new tradition or craft, let’s remember the reason we celebrate…to show our love to others. We do this every single day in a variety of ways, so there’s no need to be elaborate. Keeping it simple, yet meaningful is a sure way to let your children know you love them. Showering them with things is not nearly as important as the message you want to convey. Letting your children know they are valued because of who they are is the most meaningful way to their hearts.
And a friendly reminder, your spouse wants to hear the same thing! :) Let’s not forget them!