Generally speaking, the month of February is thought of as the month of love and romance because February 14th is Valentine’s Day. That is, of course, for adults, but what does this celebration mean to preschoolers? How do you, as a parent , want to avoid yet another materialistic holiday and instead use this opportunity of celebration to teach your child about the true meaning of LOVE? To me Valentine ’s Day is the perfect time to share a bit of history about how the holiday came to be and the meaning of the traditions that have since been followed. Because toddlers are so impressionable, this is the perfect time to spend giving them the best gift you can: explaining the true meaning of LOVE. It is much more about giving than receiving. You may be at a loss for how to do this, so here are a few suggestions for Valentine’s Day this year.
1.) First tell a little story about the origin of St. Valentines Day (only if you believe it!) Something like this :
Once upon a time long, long ago there lived a religious man who was known as a BISHOP, his name was Valentine. He lived in a far away land called Rome, Italy. During the time he lived there was much fighting among the people over the land. The Roman soldiers were the bravest and strongest of all armies. But the men did not all want to fight any longer for more land for the Emperor. They wanted to stay home with their families. The Emperor of Rome wanted to have more and more land so the soldiers would have to continue fighting, The Emperor had a peculiar idea that if young soldiers were to marry it would make them weak , so he made a decree: NO YOUNG PEOPLE COULD BE MARRIED. The kind Bishop Valentine did not agree with this and would marry young people who loved each other in secret. Soon the Emperor found out about this. He was very angry and had Bishop Valentine put in prison. Valentine was called a friend of lovers. While in prison a guard asked Valentine to heal his blind daughter . Valentine used his faith in God to heal the girl. It was a miracle! Valentine and the young girl became friends and fell in love. People liked Valentine so much they sent cards to him while in jail. The Emperor had Valentine put to death on Feb 14th. Before he died, Valentine wrote a card to this girl who he had become friends with and signed it Your Valentine . Ever since then, people all over the world send cards and nice notes to friends and people they love on Valentine’s Day!
2. Teach the concept of love to mean a great caring for others. That is why cards are given. It makes the giver feel good. It’s a joyful, awesome, warm and fuzzy feeling. Take the time to sit with your Toddler to make rather then buy Valentine’s cards. Celebrate with your toddler their efforts in making the craft , signing their own name on the cards they give to friends.
3. It is a day to learn about kindness , tolerance and diversity. At family time you may want to ask questions like:
What does Love mean to you?
How are you a good friend?
How do you show kindness?
How can you show love to Mommy, Daddy, and family, How to show love to friends?
4. Show your love by taking the time to make your child’s favorite lunch, maybe with the bread cut into the shape of a heart. Include something different like cut up carrots in all different colors, use red colored fruits like red apples, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries etc. ,
5. Have fun with singing a song like Heart song by The Kiboomrs for Kids that spell HEART. Being a cardiac nurse , I love it! Emotions come from our hearts…
Again, creating memories with your children will be the most valuable gift you ever give them….your time, your interactions, your conversations!
My love to all of you, Marsha