With Valentine’s Day upon us, many parents struggle to explain this celebration to their children. How does one make sense of all the preparations, the flowers, red and pink hearts everywhere and the “grown up” meaning of the word love? From children to pre-teens, there are 4 basic ideas that parents can cover to help their kids understand the true meaning of Valentine away from societal buzz and norms and introduce it as a day for everyone!
1. In some classrooms with or without the consent of the teacher, kids share cards they made themselves and either hand out to the whole class or exchange with their best friends. Some might get more cards than others, and for vulnerable pre-teens who did not receive as much start to doubt their self worth based on the number of cards they received. The best way to handle this is helping them understand beforehand that this day is not a popularity contest.
2. Many of the younger kids might think this day is all about candy and chocolates, and while it is one of the perks, it isn’t an excuse to binge on sugary treats. Parents wouldn’t want a sugar rush that will last all day long nor would they want their kids to get used to changing their eating habits to that extreme, so it is best if we try to limit their intake throughout the day.
3. Teach your kids that love comes in all forms and platonic love is love. They can celebrate with their best friend, or within the family to show the members how much they mean to each other. Suggest that each family member create a special card to give as a token of love and respect and have your kids enjoy this exchange. As they grow older and find themselves without a girlfriend or boyfriend, they will realize that Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the hyped up commercial side, but that it also means pure love.
4. Try not to place pressure on your children if you feel that they do not want to participate in this day’s activities. If you are able to get your kid to open up then maybe you can help him through it but keep in mind that this is a personal decision that we must respect. In time, your child will learn to create his own opinion of this day but placing pressure will get you the reverse reaction.