by Ann Douglas
"I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways..."
Valentine's Day is a time where you can really come up with creative ways to get the message across to your kids. This handy list from Ann Douglas helps you find a way that's best for you!
1. Leave a note for your child in an unexpected place. Tape it to the ceiling above his bed or write it in shaving cream on the bathroom mirror. (If you decide to go the shaving cream route, you'll want to keep the message short and sweet—unless, of course, you have an exceptionally large bathroom mirror!)
2. Send her an e-mail message telling her about the web site you discovered that's devoted to her favorite television show, hockey team, or musical group. (Naturally, you'll want to check the site out thoroughly before you give it the highly coveted Parental Stamp of Approval.)
3. Tuck a sticker or other inexpensive trinket in his lunch bag to let him know that you're always thinking about him. Hockey cards, gum, or a miniature deck of cards are just a few of the many possibilities.
4. Spend an hour listening to her favorite music or watching her favorite TV show with her. Your child will appreciate the fact that you're willing to take time to find out more about something that's important to her.
5. Offer to play his favorite video game or board game. Then pull out a classic board game such as Monopoly or Scrabble that you enjoyed playing as a kid. It's a great way to get to know one another better.
6. Plan a family movie night. You get to pick one movie at the video store and your child gets to pick one movie. The only ground rule is that you each pick a movie that the other person will enjoy. (That means you forgo the Woody Allen flicks for now and your child takes a pass on Barney!)
7. Find ways of being physically active together. Bundle up and go for a walk or put on some music and boogie. (Close the drapes so that your child won't have to worry about her friends catching her dancing with her parents!)
8. Start a special tradition at dinner: everyone at the table has to think of one thing they like or admire about each other person. (Don't expect miracles from siblings: be happy with even the most watered-down compliments!)
9. Serve an "I Love You" cake for dessert. You can either use a heart-shaped pan or both a square pan and a round pan. (You simply cut the round cake in half and line the two halves on the circle up so that they are touching two adjacent sides of the square. Once you ice the cake, no one will be able to see the seams.)
10. Vow to find ways to say "I Love You" to your child 365 days a year—not just on Valentine's Day. That's the greatest gift of all you could give your child.
Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.
Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.