February is known as the month of love. We may know it better for the month of chocolate hearts and roses. When I was a kid, Valentine’s Day was an nerve-racking month since I spent most of the month prior thinking about who was going to ask me to the Valentine’s Day dance or who was going to send me a Valogram in homeroom. When I hit college-age, I was focused on what my boyfriend was going to get me/what I was going to get him and what I should wear on our Valentine’s Day date. Well it’s safe to say that years later– eleven years married with four kids that I my Valentine’s Day priorities have shifted.
Valentine’s Day has become less about the new red dress and a secret admirer and more about what fun things we can do with our kids and what family-friendly activities we can do to still make the day special. I will be honest, I have tried a lot of different things to keep Valentine’s Day from become just another day, but it can be hard! When I was a new mom, we tried doing the whole babysitter thing and making Valentine’s Day a date night, but it was always crowded every place we went and since our kids were young, we were always cutting the evening short to head back to them. Some of the things that have worked are below:
- Movie Night: Over the years, this has worked out great. I spend the day before Valentine’s Day going to store and buying snack foods, appetizers, and movie candy. I make a special trip to Target and buy everyone new pajamas. On Valentine’s Day, I make the kids heart-shaped pancakes and tell them that we are having movie night after school. When everyone gets home from school/daycare we all get into our new pajamas. We start heating up appetizers, mixing up chip dip and claiming our spots on the couch. After a few minutes of debate, we finally all settle on what movie we want to rent. We spend the night snacking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
- Cookies & Crafts: Sometimes there is just no good movies out to rent or sometimes no one can decide on a movie so this option is always a good one to choose. When everyone is back home from work/school/daycare, we get into comfy clothes/pajamas and start making cookies. I let the kids use cookie cutters (i.e. hearts, stars, kisses, x’s and o’s, etc.) and food coloring to make their own cookies. After we bake them the kids can decorate them with frosting, sprinkles, and edible glitter. It’s a blast, plus the cookies are delicious. After we’re done with the cookie-making extravaganza, the kids move on to the craft station. This is where they can choose to make different Valentine’s Day themed items. For example, one year we took funky socks and made grip designs on the bottom. Another time, we used my Silhouette machine to cut out vinyl decals for mugs.
- Double Dinner: This last idea is great since it brings back some of the romance/date night flare; however, it can be exhausting. The Double Dinner idea means that you literally have two nights in one. You spend the first half of the night with your kids–watching a movie, making cookies, etc. and then the second part of the night eating a romantic dinner for two and then watching a movie. I will tell you that we have tried this maybe four times and each time my husband and I wind up eating left over pizza on the couch as an episode of Friends plays on in the background.
If there is anything to remember about Valentine’s Day is that you shouldn’t let it pass as just another day. After all, everyone needs a little break from the norm once in awhile. Have some fun with your kids and loved ones.