It’s Valentine’s Day! Leading up to the big day, there is so much focus on choosing the perfect card, the right gift, and setting the mood for romance. It can be stressful placing so much significance on this one day, but we do it, year after year. Why? Because we want to let that special someone know we care and it’s fun.
Even as we celebrate romance this year, let’s use this day to make love connections with our children as well. Busy parents are pulled in many directions, running between work, school, and their children’s activities. They are present, but not connected. Aside from hearts and candy, here are some things you can do to make sure your children know you treasure your relationship with them on Valentine’s Day or any day:
Speak love. Seek to understand. Take time to communicate clearly and respectfully. Communicate your expectations thoughtfully and confirm understanding. Guide and teach with the intent to empower and encourage. Focus on resolution and reconciliation when correcting behavior. Encourage respectful debate and dialogue for parents and children.
Put love on the menu. Pack a special treat in their backpacks where they’re sure to find it at lunchtime. Prepare their favorite food for lunch or dinner. Plan one night a week where you and your children cook together.
Put love into words. Leave a note on your child’s pillow Express what you admire about them, thank them for doing a good deed, or encourage them in their endeavors, on a card or poster.
Make time for love. When you come home from work, try to be “off the clock”. If you must circle back to complete work, do so after your children head off to bed. Turn off the electronics and tune into what your children are doing and thinking. Invest 15 – 20 minutes of your undivided attention in talking with them before they start homework or at bedtime.
Model love. As parents, you can model loving, cooperative interactions with all family members. Your relationship can set a standard for the kind of healthy respectful relationship your child can hope to build with a partner or spouse when they grow up. This might be the greatest gift of all.