Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines Hearts Trio

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just for lovers. It is easy to make Valentine's Day special for children too.

For example, I have a friend who's daughter brought out a scrapbook she had made. In it, she had saved every Valentine she had ever gotten, and she had at least one Valentine for every Valentine's Day since her birth because her daddy gave her a Valentine every Valentine's Day, even when she was a baby. She was so pleased showing me the scrapbook and it was obvious how much those Valentine's from her daddy meant to her; they made her feel special and loved.

Back when I lived in California, the schools had a special take on Valentine's Day. The teachers would bring in white paper lunch bags for the kids todecorat with construction paper hearts and glitter. Each child would have his or her name written across the top of the bag, and then all of the bags were hung in a row along the wall, low enough to make it easy for children to reach into them. On Valentine's Day, all of the children would bring Valentine's for every child in their class.

By the end of the day, the bags were brimming with cute little friend-valentines, Hershey's Kisses, conversation hearts, and other treats. Thechildren's faces lit up as they peered into their Valentine's bags at the end of the day and got to see all of the loot they were getting to take home with them. And every child there felt closer to each other because they had all given each other valentine's. Some of the valentines were homemade, some were store-bought, some included candy, but no matter what, they all implied that the giver liked the person receiving the valentine.

This tradion doesn't happen here in England. So I bought enough heart-decorated party bags for every child in my little ones' classes. (The 4 yea rold, the 5 year odl and the 8 year old are the three I am referring to.) I bought enough party-favor heart-decorated notebooks to go around their classrooms, and I bought enough Valentine postcards for each child in their classrooms. I then bought some chocolate-toffee candies and added one to each bag, and then tied the bags off.

What the bags contained wasn't much. And yet, the children loved them. My children came home full of smiles and stories about hwo happy they had made everyone in their classes. Even the four year old announced loudly to me upon arriving home, with a big smile, that, "Everyone said THANK YOU to me!"

It doesn't take much to make Valentine's Day special for children and to teach them to make it a day to show our love for one another as friends and fellow human beings, not just romantic love.