With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, families are looking for fun and engaging ways to explore the concept of love with their little ones while teaching them how to express their feelings. Starting as early as 2-years-old, children begin to understand positive and negative emotions which they in turn use to describe how they themselves are feeling. So, it is important for parents to mindfully teach their children how to love and express their emotions in a positive way.
The Goddard School education experts put together several Valentine’s Day crafts, book recommendations, and a list of ways to say I love you to your little ones to help parents and children navigate the concept of love
Heart Tree Sponge Stamp Art
Show how love grows with this beautiful piece of Valentine’s Day art.
- A piece of white paper
- Brown, pink, red and purple paint
- A paintbrush
- Kitchen sponges
- Help your child paint a tree trunk and bare branches with the brown paint and allow to dry.
- Cut out hearts from the sponges in different sizes.
- Have your child use the sponges to stamp heart-shaped leaves onto the tree with the different colors of paints. The fuller the tree is, the more love there is!
Heart-Shaped Bird Feeder
Help your child spread some Valentine’s Day love to the birds outside your window this February.
- Pipe cleaners
- Ring-shaped cereal
- Have your child string the cereal onto a pipe cleaner, leaving a little space at the ends.
- Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to make a circle, and then bend it into a heart shape.
- Help your child tie a piece of string onto the heart in a loop, and then take your child outside and find a place to hang the feeder where birds can enjoy it.
Valentine’s Day books that teach kids how wonderful it is to love, cultivated from The Goddard School’s Life Lesson Library, include:
- Making Faces, A first book of emotions by Abrams Appleseed
- No Matter What by Debi Gliori
- Lots of Feelings by Shelly Rotner
- I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, illustrated by Caroline Church
- The Rabbit Listened by Cory Doerrfeld
- Franklins New Friend by Paulette Bourgeois, illustrated by Brenda Clark
- Prekindergartners and Kindergartners
- My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
- How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
Ten Ways to Support Your Child with Love:
- Send notes. Notes or drawings on a brown paper lunch bag is a classic way to show how much you care every day. You can do the same by slipping something in a backpack or a pocket. A simple heart drawing will do the trick!
- Listen to their stories. Stop what you’re doing and listen to the recap of their day or recount a game your children played with a friend or family member. This simple gesture helps you stay connected with your children.
- Ask questions. When your children talk to you, engage and ask follow-up questions. Creating a dialogue demonstrates you are interested in what your children are doing and gives you a snapshot of their thoughts.
- Share your stories. Family stories are a wonderful way to help your children feel connected and see how similar the things you did as a child are to what they are doing now. Funny stories are always the best.
- Ask your children to choose. Let them pick a game, television show or a song to sing in the car. Being part of a decision helps boost your children’s confidence and shows your interest in their opinions.
- Say YES! How about a special treat for dinner or a fun game? Make the time. Do your children want to wear pajamas all day? Relax the rules occasionally.
- Display their art and other creations. Your children’s creative expression is in every piece of artwork they make. Hanging up these creations at home or in your office can encourage creativity and show how important what they do is to you.
- Teach your children something new. Find what they are interested in—baking cookies, fixing a bike tire or tying their shoes—and help them learn how to do it. These become special moments you and your children will cherish.
- Start a daily tradition and establish routines. Knowing what to expect each day provides children with a secure loving environment to thrive in.
- Turn off the devises and play. This is fun for everyone and eases the stress of any day!