Home, Sweet, Valentine’s Day!

Can you bond with your kids during this Hallmark Holiday?

I know this is the second Valentine-related post of the week. You can’t ignore the constant ads for flowers, candy, gifts, restaurant dinners, oh yes, and the notices from schools (please bring the following list of items for your child’s party…). The truth is, I love Valentine’s Day and it was my mother who gave me a healthy attitude about it.

How? She turned it into a holiday about fun and love of family. It wasn’t about romance, or spending money, or silly cards, or candy. It was about spending time together and mixing up the usual routine. Certain practices became a tradition in our home and are traditions that I will share with my family as well. Here are some ideas of how to make Valentine’s special in all the right ways for your kids:

1) Consider a family night at home. Grown-up date nights are absolutely important but prices and reservations on the nights surrounding the 14th may offer better options anyway. Showing your kids that family love is also a priority can build confidence and healthy attitudes that will last through adulthood.

2) Make dinner extra fun. How about a red meal? Pizza with red peppers placed to look like hearts, milk with a drop of red food coloring, strawberry apple sauce. There are so many ways you could make a fun meal and let your kids help in the process.

3) Decorate the table. Red streamers, construction paper, stickers etc. Let your kids do the work and make a surprise table for mom and dad. You can even let them incorporate their valentines from their school or other parties into the mix. What were you going to do with them anyway?

4) Have everyone share something they love about the other people at the table. Think of it in the same way people share things they are thankful for at Thanksgiving Dinner! I am sure you will hear something much better then anything a conversation heart could convey.

5) Play a game or watch a family favorite movie. The party doesn’t have to end at dinner. If you feel compelled to buy something for your kids stick with something that is interactive and that you can use with them. If your boys just want to play video games with you then do that. Family activities change as kids grow, so do what works for yours.

6) Remember that your kids love you and what they want most is your attention and time. In our busy lives these moments can be at a premium and be quickly passed over. Valentine’s Day can be used as a day to slow down and refocus for a moment on what is really important to us. You may not buy into expensive cards, fancy chocolates, mounds of sugar, or $200 roses, but you can still love Valentine’s Day and your kids can, too.

Kirstin Lee, M.D. About Kirstin Lee, M.D.

Kirstin Abel Lee, M.D. is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate education at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine. Kirstin completed her residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She is board certified in Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her interests include healthy living for children and families, emergency preparedness, and medical ethics. She is the mother of one boy age 2 years and enjoys cooking, running, and time with friends and family.

Connect with Dr. Kirstin Lee on Facebook: ChildrensMomDocs and.

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