Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romantic love. It’s a great reason to spoil those you love with caring deeds and words of affection. Show your kids how much you love them with some of these simple, affordable yet meaningful ideas.

Slip a Valentine card under each kid’s pillow while they are sleeping. In the morning, tell them to check underneath. It makes for a fun surprise when they wake up, plus it will carry excitement and good vibes with them throughout the day.

For breakfast, cut out toast with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Spread the heart shape with cream cheese and top with strawberry or raspberry jam. Place the piece of toast with the heart cut out on a plate and fill the center with red berries. Wet the rims of wine glasses or plastic cups then dip into pink or red sugar. Fill the cups with sparkling apple juice.

Draw a large, open heart on the bathroom mirror at kid-height with a dry erase marker. Write “I love” with an arrow pointing to the heart shape. When your child looks in the mirror to brush their teeth, his or her face will be in the heart!

Glam up lunch boxes by using your heart cookie cutter to shape sandwiches. If they aren’t into sandwiches, just opt for their favorite foods to show you care. Include a treat of Valentine candy and, of course, a love note.

Draw a trail of hearts on the driveway or sidewalk in red and pink chalk. Kids can follow the path by hopping from one to the next on the way to the car or bus stop.

Show your kids how important it is to care for others. Visit a local nursing home and hand out flowers or Valentine cards to the residents. You could also drop off flowers or candy and a note for your neighbors.

Cook up a Valentine-themed dinner. Serve heart-shaped individual pizzas or top pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni. (Hint: cut the pepperoni pieces into hearts with a mini cookie cutter.) Many pizza companies offer heart shaped pizza for take-out or delivery in honor of the holiday as well. Serve with pink milk or sparkling juice.

During dinner, have each family member say why they love the person sitting next to them. Go around the table one way, then do it again in the opposite direction.

After dinner, cuddle up in PJs to watch a Valentine’s Day show such as Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown; Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Hurray! It’s Valentine’s Day; Winnie the Pooh, A Valentine for You; WordWorld: My Fuzzy Valentine; or Madly Madagascar.

Last but not least, don’t forget story time! Try one of these love-themed books: Queen of Hearts by Mary Englebreit, Love, Splat by Rob Scotten, Snowy Valentine by David Peterson, I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt or Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool by James Dean.

Spread the love by trying one or more of these ideas this February 14th. By replacing candy and gifts with acts of kindness and time spent together, you will surely brighten your kids’ day and make fun family memories.

Tiffany Doerr Guerzon

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