With Valentine's Day around the corner, we explore the how and why of preparing our children for a big day. With lots of expectations for our children and us, here are four tips to help you communicate what these celebrations are all about!
Valentine's Day is February 14th, and on your calendar there is a task in red: "Feel love! Give love and be happy". Here in the U.S., we celebrate this "day of love" by buying gifts and going to fancy dinners while our children pick out "v-day cards" to deliver to their Valentines-classmates. We send flowers (mainly pink and red), decorate hearts and cupids, deliver expensive yummy chocolates, and mail "I Love You" cards (even to our dogs and cats… I've seen it, I swear!).
Isn't the essence of this day meant to bring great positive emotions?!
Valentine's Day brings with it the pressure to feel a certain feeling, and even more so, to express it to people around us. Now, imagine what our children are facing. Sometimes for the first time, feelings of crushes and excitement over who will give them a card or who will overlook them. That is quite a lot of pressure. With all this emotion buzzing around, how about a family discussion about LOVE DAY prior to February 14th?
Do our kids always need to be happy just because it is a special day of love? Or even their birthday? The first place that acceptance of emotion begins, is in your home!
Think for a moment about the first time you experienced emotions that were less than desirable? In my many years working with families and children, I have heard a lot of stories about children who are sad and crying on their most anticipated day, their birthday party! There is so much expectation building prior to the big day, and sometimes it brings overwhelming feelings, which are far from what they, or we, expected.
Here are 4 tools to prepare your child for any highly anticipated day: a birthday, a play, a concert performance, or even Valentine's Day.
Remember, COMMUNICATION is key! Let your child be part of the celebration rather than feeling responsible for the happiness of the day. This is a great opportunity for life lessons about expectations. You are building a foundation of trust and honesty to express any emotion, even on a day that is filled with LOVE everywhere you look on the billboards. Help your little one know- it is their party and they can cry if they want to!