I hate to show my bias, but I really like Valentine's Day. I love taking the extra effort to help my wife know how much I love her, and this is a great day for just spoiling her beyond belief. But as I have come to learn over the years, it is also a great opportunity to share the spirit and feelings of Valentine's Day with my children. So, what can a dad do to have a great time with his children with this otherwise romantic holiday?
Spoil Your Daughters. A number of years ago, I decided I needed to make a little extra effort for my girls so they would come to appreciate Valentine's Day. I know I set a bit of a high standard for their future boyfriends and husbands, but part of that is intentional on my part. Consider buying them a single rose in a little bud vase, or leaving them some conversation hearts or another Valentine treat where they can find it.
Help The Kids Take Care of Mom. As dads know, Valentine's Day is pretty important to the women in our life. Taking some time ahead of the big day to help the kids think about how to recognize their mom will go a long way toward making their day special too. Whether or not you are still with their mom, helping them focus on her will be a real positive for them.
Host a Party. Consider helping the kids plan and host a Valentine's Day party on or around February 14. Help them decide whom to invite, prepare invitations, decide on some games and get some treats together.
Have a Heart Attack. One of my favorite Valentine's Day activities is called a heart attack. You and the kids pick someone who needs to know they are loved—maybe a friend, a relative, or one of the kids' friends-- and then you plan out the attack. Help the kids cut out lots of red construction paper hearts and glue them onto wooden skewers. Then, in the dark of night, stick them in the front yard of the person who is the subject of the attack. (If they don't have a front yard, use masking tape to tape them to the front door.) The kids will appreciate the opportunity to do a secret project for someone else and the attackee will have a much better Valentine's Day knowing they were remembered.
Tell Them Why You Love Them. Kids will appreciate a little note from you that reminds them why you love them. Write about their best qualities and the things you appreciate about their personalities and their characters.
Remember Them at School. While each child may feel differently about a school thing, they will appreciate the surprise during the day. For elementary school children, a treat or a surprise in their backpack might be a good approach. For high school or middle school kids, something in their locker would be a good idea.
Encourage Creativity. Each child is different in their creative sides. Some may be writers; others may be artists; still others may be good with music. Valentine's Day is a good time to magnify their talents. A family talent show demonstrating their skills, and thus giving of themselves to other family members can be a good Valentine's Day gift.
Have Fun with Conversation Hearts. You know those little sugary candy hearts with words on them? Pull some out of the bag and make some fun sentences. See how creative you can be with them. Maybe pick the name of some friend and build some funny descriptions of them (good natured of course).
Have a Game Night. Instead of a big party with lots of friends, you might want instead to have a quieter night at home playing some board games together. Pick up some the kids' favorite munchies and spend the evening together.
Watch Some Old Family Videos. One of our favorite activities is to watch videos from our children's younger days. We have some great home movies of school programs, birthdays, soccer games and other events. The kids remember the fun times and they often laugh a little at each other's antics. The younger kids will especially like seeing the older ones as little tykes. Sharing memories like these will help build some new memories together.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure and stay involved with the kids through the process. Valentine's Day can be a time to make great memories that will last a lifetime and be recalled every year of their lives in February.