5 Ways to Fuel Family Love


Photo by Kabiki Photography

Words by Sara Marchessault

Valentine’s Day is fun for kids because they get to choose Valentine’s to share with friends and exchange them at school or with other groups. Adults enjoy Valentine’s Day because it’s a good excuse for a date night.

But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be strictly a kid or grown-up thing. It can be fun for the whole family. You don’t have to bring your kids on your Valentine’s date, nor is it required that you attend the class party to bring a little more love into your day. Instead you can try one of the ideas below to fuel family love and create a richer Valentine’s Day.

Lunch box note. Tried and true, kids love discovering a note from mom or dad when they open up their lunch box. Index cards or even Post-it Notes work well for this. When packing lunch for the day, slip in a little note to let them know you love them, remind them of a recent time they made a particularly good choice, or simply thank them for being a good kid. You never know, your son or daughter might just need a bright spot in his or her day and a lunch box note could do the trick.

Treasure hunt. These take a little more time and effort, but a treasure hunt can be a great way to show your kids how much you love them. It can also be a fun activity for the family to complete together. First, determine the treasure you want your family to seek. Next, prepare a list of clues for them to follow to get to the treasure. It’s fun to create little verses or riddles that lead the treasure hunters from one point to the next. You can hide clues under furniture, on top of the fridge, in the garage, outside, inside a boot, etc. It might be easiest to first choose the number of clues, than select your hiding places for the clues, and finally, write your clues out. This is a great activity for the kids when they get home on Valentine’s Day or even first thing in the morning if you’ve got early risers. The treasure could be a small gift, a new family board game, or a tasty treat that everyone loves.

Love letter. There are many references to love letters in classic literature, poetry, and even romantic novels. Often we think of love letters as expressions of love between two adults. But love letters can be for kids too. Parents can write to their kids a story about a memory they shared or a character trait the parent is particularly proud of their son or daughter for developing. Love letters can be a tool we use to express to our kids what is important to us as parents. We are quick to give comments about beauty or smarts, but in a thoughtful love letter, we can really get into detail about what we love about them, about what makes them special.

Mirror note. Similar to lunch box notes, mirror notes are a little surprise for our loved ones. These can be short and brief, written on any size Post-it Note and stuck to the mirror. Or, if you’d like to write on the mirror directly, you can use dry erase markers, which will wash off when you clean the mirror. Mirror notes can be funny phrases, drawings, arrows pointing to where your son or daughters face is in the mirror with positive phrases and notes of love.

Valentine-themed picnic. Plan an indoor picnic for Valentine’s Day. Choose your sunniest room, spread out a picnic blanket and throw some pillows on the floor, and have a winter snack or meal together. Sweets are traditional for Valentine’s Day, but you could also do sandwiches shaped like hearts and strawberries cut in half. Flour tortillas can be cut into heart shapes too and dipped into a favorite salsa or melted cheese. Dig out your heart-shaped cookie cutters and see if you can plan an entire meal where you cut your food into heart shapes. If this isn’t a surprise for the kids, include them in the planning, assigning jobs and letting them come up with their own ideas.

Whatever you do for Valentine’s Day, whether it feels like a major festivity or a simple moment to stop and say I love you, enjoy your time with your loved ones. Letting them know you care puts a smile on their faces and makes you feel good too.

Sara Marchessault is a writer and coach. Her work helps clients to more fully experience joy in their daily life. Sara is an avid diarist and keeper of her family’s stories. These days her journals are getting lots of details about playing with her kids and the awesome ups and downs of being a mom. Learn more about her work at saramarchessault.com.



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