Valentine’s Day : Simple Solutions For Moms

 

Photo courtesy of kwbridge

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, moms are faced with a multitude of choices–and we’re not talking about picking a treat from the Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler. These are choices for our kids. What kind of Valentines should we get? Should we buy them, or should they be homemade? What about the Valentine’s Box for school? How can we do something memorable at home for our kids, too? Relax–here at Lipstick and Politics we’ve got you covered. You don’t have to be the Queen of Pinterest to be successful; read on for simple solutions to make this a great Valentine’s Day for your kids.

Valentines: Every kid in elementary school looks forward to taking their Valentines to school. While making them at home is fun, it’s not necessary. My own kids like going to the store and picking out the particular Valentines they want to give their friends. My daughter has Bieber Fever these days, so she’d prefer a Justin Valentine to anything I make at home. If you do feel like being creative, there are a couple of easy, go-to options that look cute and come together easily. First, you could go with the “Butterfly Valentine”. For these, all you need is some construction paper (worst-case scenario, grab some white paper out of the printer), markers, and some Smarties candies or other candy that comes in a roll. Fold the paper over and cut out two hearts the same size. Join them together in the middle to make the wings, then tape or glue the candy to the center to serve at the butterfly’s body. Kids can then decorate the wings using markers and/or stickers. Another option is the “Mouse Valentine”. For these, use construction paper or felt, markers, and suckers/lollipops. Cut out a heart, fold it over in half, and you have a mouse. Stick the sucker inside with the stick hanging out the back for a tail. Use the markers to draw a mouse eye, nose, and whiskers. You can easily jazz these up by adding googly eyes.

Valentine Box: Many schools ask the children to bring a box in which to store their Valentines prior to the school party. While some go all out making pirate ships and airplanes, most kids are just as happy to express themselves in a simpler way. Of course, covering a shoe box in paper and decorating it is always an option, but I like to start with a ready-to-go white box. Most craft stores sell this type of box; Hobby Lobby has inexpensive cake boxes that we’ve used at my house for years. While you’re at the store, let your child pick out some stickers/decals from the scrapbook section to decorate the box. My son decided he was too old for mushy hearts last year, so he went with a Star-Wars-themed box, and it looked great. As long as the kids like what they make, that’s the point.

 

 

  Image by the author

Treats: Again, most kids are happy to bring prepackaged treats that you can pick up anywhere during Valentine season. In fact, many schools have stringent rules about bringing homemade goods, due to health or allergy issues. If you can send treats, consider fruit kebabs. Letting the kids alternate banana and strawberry pieces on a kebab stick is fun, it works on a skill (patterning), it has the red-and-white Valentine’s color scheme, and it’s a lot healthier than a sugary treat. At home, consider making pizza with the kids. We buy the dough packets that only require water before mixing and then form it into a heart shape. The kids put their favorite toppings on and it’s a fun, easy tradition to look forward to every year.

 

Image by Vegbooks

Books: As the night winds down, or before you hand the kids over to a sitter so you can have your own romantic evening, consider reading a sweet book or two together. Author Sam McBratney has cornered the market on touching books showing the love between parent and child, with beautiful illustrations. Guess How Much I Love You is the tale of a rabbit putting his child to bed. He and the boy keep one-upping each other in terms of their love for one another, ending with the oft-repeated phrase, “I love you to the moon, and back.” In fact, at my cousin’s wedding last month, this book was the inspiration for the wedding message. McBratney’s book I Will Always Be Your Friend tells the story of a mother fox and her child. The young fox is grumpy at bedtime and tells his mother that she is no longer his friend, but by the end of the story he is reassured that no matter his mood or the mistakes he makes, his mother will always be there for him. Did I mention the gorgeous illustrations?

From Valentines, to treats, to new traditions, there are plenty of choices here. If you are the creative type, of course you can always take these ideas to the next level by adding your own details. If you like to keep it simple, just grab some of these options and go. Remember, your kids will enjoy simply spending time with you, whether it’s time spent making things together, or time spent picking things out at the store together. Because ultimately, one of the best gifts we can give our kids is time spent together.

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