As a child, I remember the gift box of little colored hearts my father would bring home as a surprise. We did not have much money, so this little box of sweet treats was a big deal for my sister and me. Or if we were lucky, the solid chocolate heart that showed through the plastic window, in a card-like box.
But more than any candy he gave, it was the quality time he invested in us. He worked a day job and always seemed to be taking on side jobs, but after work or on weekends, he always made time for his girls.
Even though I still remember the candy, it’s the Thursday pizza nights, hanging out at the firehouse (he was a volunteer firefighter), and hikes at the local state park I remember and cherish the most.
If I think about my favorite memories with my father, I loved hiking the most. I learned so many lessons on the hikes that I carry with me today. Patience, persistence, paying attention to the details, fresh air is good for the soul, with enough practice skipping rocks is possible, and that beauty is all around us if we take the time to slow down and look around.
These gifts my father gave us instilled in us a love for the simple things in life, an appreciation for volunteerism and serving our community, and a love for the outdoors, as I have enjoyed hiking through many local, state, and national parks.
The gift of time doesn’t have to be hours upon hours. Often less is more. If it were too cold to go hiking, we would still go to the park and drive around, primarily looking for deer, but we were excited to see any animal, even a squirrel skittering up a tree. My father would bring snacks, we would turn up the radio, and he even brought a pair of binoculars for us to park and scout out movement in the woods. This may seem corny, but we always had a blast, laughed a lot, and it got us out of the house on nights my mom worked late.
There is no need to go overboard to plan an extravagant, long drawn-out event that is only going to wear out your child into meltdown and get your last nerve twitching like it’s about to blow a fuse.
Use Valentine’s Day, the day of love, to get creative, focus on your child’s interests, and discover ways to step away from devices and have fun.
Here are 8 Valentine’s Day ideas.
- In-home spa day or a pajama party
- Baking their favorite treats and then giving away some of the treats to a neighbor
- Create a scavenger hunt around the house or at the park
- Hiking at a local park (my favorite)
- Breakfast in bed, snuggles, and reading a book (I recommend Giving Gal)
- Outside fun of flying a kite, blowing bubbles, and creating works of art with sidewalk chalk
- Cooking their favorite meal, getting dressed up, and pretending they are at a restaurant
- Go to the movies, or to save money, have a family movie night, watching their favorite movie, popping popcorn, and sipping on their favorite, non-sugary drink
This is just a list to get you started, but you know your child the best, and I am confident you can bring your creativity alive to give them a Valentine’s Day you and your child will remember for a lifetime.
Stephanie L. Jones gave a gift every day for 522 days, and that journey changed her life. Now she is on a mission to inspire others to give and practice gratitude daily. She hosts an inspiring podcast, Giving Your Best Life. As a TEDx speaker, she loves sharing her message from the stage in schools, colleges, churches, and businesses. Stephanie is a best-selling and award-winning author of six books, including her children’s books, Giving Gal and Giving Gal and the Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. She lives out her dreams with her hubby, Mike in Indiana.