While couples lay claim to Valentine’s Day as their special time, everything changes once you start having kids. Sitters are hard to come by on Valentine’s Day, plus they’re expensive, so seize the opportunity to bond with the family and celebrate a totally a different kind of love. That’s what I’m doing. My plan is to spend the late afternoon and early evening with my greatest love, who also happens to be my son, Javier. We’ve got the Lego movie and dinner at our favorite neighborhood spot all planned out. It’s a date for two, just not the two everyone else is expecting.
But you don’t have to go out to enjoy a family-friendly Valentine’s Day. Jennifer Chung, parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com, has compiled a list of great ideas to get kids involved and turn the event into a family affair.
1. Eat with love. Make a Valentine’s dinner together using only foods that are red in color (before and/or after cooking). For starters make a beet salad, red carrot salad, or tomato salad; for main dishes make lobster, steak, or red snapper fish; for dessert try strawberries, raspberry fruit salad, cherry pie, or raspberry sorbet. Drinks can include champagne with a dash of cranberry juice or wine for mom and dad, substitute sprite with grenadine or cranberry juice for the kids. Let the kids help chop, cook and decorate the table. Don’t forget to include kid-friendly foods like red velvet cupcakes.
2. Family movie date night. After enjoying your special Valentine’s Day family dinner, why not end your night with a romantic family movie? Fortunately, there are many romantic movies that kids love such as Beauty and The Beast, Anastasia, Be My Valentine Charlie Brown, Cinderella, and High School Musical. So grab some popcorn and cuddle up!
3. Secret valentine exchange. Instead of a “Secret Santa,” try a secret valentine exchange with small handmade gifts and candy. Ask each family member to pick a name. The gifts must all be Valentine’s Day themed. This will give you and your kids an opportunity to be crafty and creative. Think outside of the box to come up with the perfect gift for your valentine (think baking heart shaped cookies, red and pink hand made bracelets, V-day photo frames, etc.). Every member of the family will love having their very own special valentine!
4. Sweet treats scavenger hunt. A fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the kids is through a scavenger hunt. Provide them with a map or leave clues around the house that lead to yummy valentine’s treats and cards. If you have more than one child, try giving your kids different maps for different surprises to keep it interesting, competitive and fun.
5. Tree of love. Trees aren’t just for Christmas anymore. Pick up an artificial Christmas tree (you should be able to find one on clearance), spray it pink (or buy a white one) and decorate it as a family with handmade valentines, pink and red paper hearts, pink lights, and family photos. Creating the “ornaments” or love will ensure an afternoon of fun!