I grew up as an only child and while I always longed for siblings, I also feel very blessed to have had the time and attention that I had from my parents. Now that I am grown and have a large family of my own I’m always looking for ways to show each of our children that he/she is special. We definitely make a point to spend a lot of time together as an entire family, but my husband and I also feel that it is important for each of the children to believe that they are important as individuals.
We have several ways of doing this throughout the year. Each child gets individual “date days” with Mom and/or Dad. We make big deals out of birthdays (because none of them have to share those special days with another sibling) and from time to time, we’ve even done individual getaways with each of the children. But Valentine’s Day is a day where we really go the extra mile to make sure they know how much – and why – they are loved.
Sure, kids love candy hearts and stuffed bears for Valentine’s Day. But we wanted to get more creative. We wanted our kids to feel warm fuzzies on the inside as well as the outside. So a few days before Valentine’s Day, I purchase packages of heart-shaped sticky notes, and my husband and I write different things about each child that we love. The first sticky note tells them “You are loved because…”
We add more notes that reinforce each child’s positive behaviors, traits and attitudes. Past favourites (as chosen by the kids) have been “…you will always be better at video games than I will be”, “you are naturally curious – I love your random facts”, “you are persistent” and “you are kind to your siblings.”
On Valentine’s eve, we wait until the children are asleep. Then, we tiptoe to their bedrooms, and place the sticky notes on each of their bedroom doors. The next morning, they wake up to a door full of reasons that they are loved.
There’s nothing more heartwarming than watching our kids on the morning of Valentine’s Day as they read their notes . They adore this tradition, and we do, too. My tween daughter reinforced her sticky notes with tape (last year’s notes are still up!) and my 8 year-old son took his favourites and relocated them to his bedroom walls. It’s such a small and inexpensive gesture but one that is so meaningful and important to them – not just on Valentine’s Day, but on every day of the year. Every time our kids walk into their rooms, they’re reminded of how much we love them.
On days when it all seems like too much, seeing those sticky notes as I go to tuck them in reminds me that this journey, however messy and chaotic, is totally worth it.
Faythe is a mother, a wife, a runner and a Pinterest aficionado. She balances her time between selling J&J Consumer Products, trying to grow 4 good citizens of the world, hanging out with her high school sweetheart and pounding the pavement in search of that runner’s high.