We know that Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers, but we also know that when you have children, it’s a day for showing that love to everyone in your household. If you can get away with your partner for a romantic dinner or, even better, a romantic weekend, all the power to you! Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, though, chances are good that you’ll be doing the daily daycare/school/work shuffle, and that it will be a day spent lavishing your little ones with love. Give them a special day by integrating some loving touches wherever you can. Here are some ideas:
*Set the table the night before. Throw on a red tablecloth (depending on the size of your table, you might be able to get away with a cheap twin-sized flat sheet from a big box store… fold it in half if your table is small), and use a vase of roses or a jar of conversation hearts as a centerpiece. If you are feeling ambitious, stop at the dollar store for heart-shaped helium balloons, and tie one to each person’s (or each child’s) chair.
*Serve up heart-shaped pancakes. If you’re not able to fit cooking up a stack of flapjacks into your weekday morning routine, consider making them a few days before. Store in the fridge or freezer, and just nuke them to serve on Valentine’s Day morning. Another option is to make oatmeal and use strawberry or chocolate syrup to draw a heart on top, or to make toast and squirt squeezable jelly or honey into a heart shape. Do what you can to make breakfast festive.
*Slip a love note into your child’s lunch. Also, surprise him with a heart-shaped lollipop or other seasonal treat. Keep it small, though, because chances are that your child’s class will have cupcakes, chocolate, or some other Valentine’s treat.
*Have a special dinner or dessert. In our family, our favorite special occasion dinner is fondue. We make cheesy fondue with beer, spices, cheddar and swiss cheeses, and serve with chunks of bread, apple slices and raw broccoli and cauliflower. We have also done chocolate fondue for dessert: simply melt a bag of chocolate chips in a fondue pot or double boiler and dip strawberries, marshmallows, pretzels… whatever you have! (If chocolate fondue is too messy, you can make your own chocolate-covered strawberries by melting the chocolate, dipping, and laying on wax paper until the chocolate hardens.)
*Spend some talking to your kids about how much you love them. Have everyone write down the top three things that they love about each person in the family, and read the lists out loud. This is a good way to promote sibling love, instead of sibling rivalry, at least for that one special evening.
*Snuggle up with a family-friendly movie. If you had a heavy dinner, serve fresh fruit and air-popped popcorn. Or, break out the board games and spend some time just enjoying one another.
What are some special things that you plan to do with the family this Valentine’s Day?