Whether you have daughters or sons or both, Valentine's Day can be a good excuse for spending quality time together in a date-like setting. Here are some ideas I have seen work well over the years for making Valentine's Day time quality time with your children.
Eat lunch at school. One of our favorite traditions as the kids were growing up was for me to take a day close to Valentine's Day and come meet each of the kids for lunch at school. I would meet them outside their classroom as the class moved to the lunch room, buy our lunches and then sit with the child at the little cafeteria table. (Warning for tall dads - those tables are often tough on your knees) You can even bring a Valentine's Day card or balloon for them at the same time.
Prepare a special dinner together. Going out to eat is always a fun activity, but you can actually also enjoy cooking together and then serving the family. One child can help with dinner and another can help you prepare dessert. Pick an easy but tasty recipe and enjoy working and eating together.
Attend a cultural event. So often we pick the easy way out with our kids and just go to a movie. Consider finding a play at a local community theater, a concert, an evening at a local university's art center, a family-friendly performance at a local comedy club or visiting an art musuem. Your kids will enjoy the variety and you will help them refine their attitude toward and appreciation of the talents of others.
Plan and arrange a "heart attack." We are not talking about a cardiac episode here, but rather a way to recognize someone special. First, identify someone who might need a little brightening in their day. It might be an elderly neighbor, a new friend at school or someone who just needs a little appreciation. Work with your kids to cut out about 75 or 80 construction paper hearts in Valentine colors, write messages on them and then tape them onto wooden dowels or skewers. Then, in the dark of night prior to Valentine's Day, head over to their home and plant these hearts into the front lawn, flower beds or other such locations. It communicates love and offers service to someone who needs it. And it makes a fun memory together.
Go ice skating. I have to admit - I am not a skater. But I know lots of dads who have a fun tradition of heading out to the local ice rink on or around Valentine's Day for a fun afternoon or evening ice skating activity with the kids. It is kind of fun to bundle up, put on the gloves and hats and enjoy some time on the ice. Then head out or head home for some gourmet hot chocolate.
Go to the library. Your local library will have lots of fun things associated with Valentine's Day. You can find books to read together, and maybe even head over for a storytime on or near Valentine's Day. And often the library will have arts and crafts activities that are free and fun. Visit your library's website and see what they have planned around Valentine'sw Day themes.
Whatever date-type activities you choose, make sure to do something fun and creative with nthe kids for Valentine's Day. You will also want to take care of your significant other, but missing the opportunity to capitalize on Valentine's Day with the kids is truly a missed opportunity.