Having kids made me a little more sensitive to the messages holidays present, most of which can quickly turn into, “What did I get?”
Since my kids are little and Valentine’s is more about friendship than romance, I like to use it as a way to help my kids express gratitude for their friends. This means instead of stressing out over what to buy for their classmates, we choose something that my children can do instead.
The key to making this a successful activity is picking something age-appropriate for your kids. Last year, I had a 3 year old and a kindergartener, so the youngest got cards to decorate with stickers, and I wrote her name in each one. The older one could write, so I let her write the To/From message on each card and draw a picture or adorn each card with stickers. You really can’t mess up decorating with stickers.
They were so proud of what they did, and although they certainly were not the most glamorous cards in the class and also didn’t have any candy stuck to them, they were from the heart.
This year, my oldest wants to make valentine’s cookies for each of her classmates. She loves to cook with me and can make this simple cookie recipe almost entirely on her own, and they are fun to decorate, too. This idea was also a money saver, as I only had to buy butter, treat bags and tags.
For my youngest, I found a valentine-making kit at Target for $5 that included cards, cut-outs and stickers to decorate 20 valentines. She can write her own name this year, too, so she can put it on all her cards, which is great practice.
There are a ton of great ideas for valentines that your kids can do themselves or you can work on together. I love to do things like crafts or cooking with my kids, as I find that’s a time when we can talk and get some one-on-one time.
Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives and writes in Oklahoma City.