There is a need to explain to children the genuine essence of celebrating Valentine's Day. There is too much commercialization being practiced by people all over the world for this occasion commonly celebrated on February 14 that I feel that children might just look at it as a day of giving flowers and chocolates. There are so many ways to express love, beyond just saying "I love you", and I think this is how we should share Valentine’s Day with children. Let's teach children that Valentine's Day is...
1. A Reminder
It is a reminder that on this particular day, you give extra special attention to the ones you love and the ones who love you. Remember when Mommy reminds you to practice well for your school presentation? She does that because she loves you and she only wants the best for you. Valentine’s Day is just like that. It reminds you to be extra good, extra helpful on that day.
2. A Celebration of Love
And love is not only limited to lovers. I once greeted my 10-year-old cousin on Valentine’s Day and she replied: "No! We don't have boyfriends." Clearly, the entire Valentine's Day concept was not explained to her well. This day is a celebration of love and that means love in all shapes and sizes.
3. A Day to Spend Time with Family
How can you express love beyond saying "I love you?" I think that teaching our children about the value of spending time with each other is a great manifestation of love. Hanging out with family and just having a simple dinner on Valentine’s night even when you are so busy is one way to tell your parents that they mean a lot to you.
4. Not about the Chocolates
Yes you can give chocolates, flowers, teddy bears on this occasion. But Valentine's Day is not about all this stuff (which is usually overpriced on days leading to the red day). They are mere material things used as accessories to make someone feel special. The most important thing that comes with these gifts is sincerity. Add the gift of presence to sincerity and you will be able to express your love beyond the sanitized, formulatic utterance of the three-word expression.
5. A Day to Share
I believe that to love is to share. Since Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, then sharing is one way to truly celebrate this occasion. For children, this means sharing toys or snacks with other children. Valentine’s Day only happens once a year but it can be a good kickstart to teach children the values of giving and sharing.
6. Almost like Christmas
That's because on this day, you also give, share and generally want to be nice to most, if not all, people. Although Christmas is a bigger celebration, Valentine's Day is also a time to get-together with family, spending time together, smiling and greeting random people at the grocery store. There's a V-Day rush too as people scurry to buy those romantic gifts straight from work and proceed to their dinner dates. Like Christmas, early planning works for Valentine's Day so you don't get stuck in traffic or in the long grocery line at Walmart.
7. A Time to Make Handmade Cards
I cannot remember how many times my siblings and I made handmade cards to give to our parents on different occasions. I just remember seeing my Mom's surprised face as she gets teary-eyed because she received a very precious gift.
How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?