Like all modern holidays, Valentine’s Day is often just another excuse for kids to eat more candy. But what if we could turn it around and use it as an opportunity to teach kids important life skills? Guest blogger Jennifer Love offers 3 thoughtful Valentine’s Day activities that help kids express Godly love, cultivate gratitude, and think about the needs of others. Enjoy!
Do you remember what it’s like to be noticed by someone who likes you? To find a note and marvel at how it got there? To feel your heart warmed by someone being thoughtful and going out of their way to surprise you? To have something delivered to your desk at work or left at your door?
I remember feeling that way on my sixth month anniversary when my husband had flowers and a note delivered to me at work. (Wasn’t he sweet for counting the months?) His note thanked me for the positive traits of our young marriage so far and was full of hope for how our future would continue together.
How can we train up our children to be this kind of thoughtful, attentive, gift-giver?
As with most holidays where a gift or treat is received, it is easy for kids to end up thinking this day is just about them, counting up and treasuring how many candies and cards they received. Sometimes even bragging about it. It could easily be a day filled with jealousy.
But can the focus be turned outward toward others on this day? What can you do as a family to thank or show love to others on Valentine’s Day?
Here are a three thoughtful activities to help kids approach Valentine’s Day in a more intentional way so they might become increasingly thoughtful of others!
Godly Love, Gratitude, and Thoughtfulness
1. Scriptural Valentine’s
I have created a set of Valentine’s that combines a verse about love and a crafted prayer from 1 John that you can tailor to your child.
Where can you leave these? How about in their lunch box or tucked in with the clean laundry? What about under their pillow at bedtime or by their toothbrush? Decorate their door when they get up or come home from school? Or in a central place like strung across the dining room window?
This is an intentional way to deliver them a meaningful note and as parents to have a reason to stop, reflect and pray for our children’s day, and more importantly their heart. By example we are teaching them the importance of God’s true love and how it impacts our love for them and their love for others.
2. Write a Valentine’s Thank You
Gratitude does not have to be saved just for Thanksgiving! Why not help them make or write a thank you note for someone else? They could thank an adult like a music teacher, neighbor, church leader, or coach.
Help them to think through who has impacted their lives this year by making a list together. Teach them that we should notice and appreciate the ones we love and seek to let them know that. That is a pretty important lesson to instill in them as a potential spouse someday!
3. Deliver a Gift to Someone who Needs Cheer
Why not buy or make a card for a single friend, someone who is sick or going through difficult time, or widow/er that you know? Make a batch of cookies or pick a bag of candy out together and divide it up to give with your card. Most kids will enjoy picking out candy, even if they know it’s not for them. Teach them as you go to consider what others like, even over what their personal favorite is. If you have eaten with this recipient before, ask your kids if they remember what their favorite foods were and encourage them to choose that.
In this we are asking them to reflect and consider this other person, to remember and make choices based upon the other’s preferences and not their own. The loving gesture comes from us but is meant to make the other person joyful and speak love to them.
Lead by example
As with any holiday, we have the immense opportunity to teach and make it whatever we want it to be!
If you want to reframe your children’s focus from gift-getting to gift-giving, then you can encourage that in your home!
If you want to refocus this holiday on Biblical concepts and God’s love for them, then you can encourage that in your home!
That has been such an exciting realization for me as a parent – that in my home I can decide and steer how our celebrations go. And that will be my children’s “normal”. Why not sit down and consider today what you want your “normal” to be and make a step toward that? It’s in your power to choose traditions worth sharing.
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Jennifer Love is a homeschooling mom of 2 boys and theology professor in central Virginia that is passionate about leaving a legacy of Godliness through creative holiday celebrations and fun everyday discipleship. Connect with her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/intentional_traditions/
Sophie Agbonkhese is a writer, homeschooling mother of four, and a recovering overachiever (who occasionally relapses). She is the founder of My Cup Runs Over, a site dedicated to helping busy women simplify and enrich their lives. When she’s not writing or debugging websites, Sophie spends her time reading, dancing, bullet journaling, reading, gardening, listening to audiobooks, and striving fruitlessly to have a clean house for at least five minutes.