Alright Dads, this is one of those weeks where you are totally in jeopardy for having a "Oh crap!" moment if you don't do it well! As a threshold matter, DO NOT FORGET YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER ON LOVE DAY! Yes, you will be in the dog house. Yes, you will be wrong. Yes, you will have to buy lots and lots of flowers to make up for missing Valentine's Day for your wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend!
But this post is not about that.
Valentine's Day is also very important for your KIDDOS! Keep in mind that like most holidays, Valentine's Day can be filled with lots of anxiety and nerves for your littles (and not so littles!). So it's important that as Dads we stay active and involved this week to make sure our kids have as good of a holiday as possible. And I'm NOT just talking about your younger kids! Keep in mind that the holiday can be tricky for kids of all ages (2, 12, 22, 42, etc.).
I've put together a few tips and tricks to make sure you totally rock this week out and not crumble under the pressure!
1. BE AWARE- Yes, we all have a busy week ahead of us and are probably still sweating if we got a good gift for our special person, but we CANNOT forget to be aware of our kids and their feelings about the holiday. Your kids are going to need different things depending on their age, so be cognizant of that! Some questions to ask your kids:
- What do you think Valentine's Day is about?
- How can you make someone feel special today?
- Do you have a special someone you want to give a valentine to?
- Why do we give valentines?
- Are you excited, nervous, worried (etc.) about the holiday?
Keep in mind that your kids might not be able to articulate their concerns or anxieties, so really be listening to what they're saying and also what they're trying to communicate. Are they nervous they won't get a valentine from the guy/girl of their middle school dreams? Have they just broken up with their boyfriend and are going into dark goth phase where they don't want to see the colors red or pink or glitter for a month!? The KEY is to ASK your kids questions BEFORE the holiday. Be aware. Come on Dads, we got this!.
2. FOLLOW UP-Okay I'm not yelling at you, but I'm YELLING AT YOU NOW! DO NOT FORGET to check in with your kids after the holiday, either at night at dinner or the next day, or even the weekend (particularly if your kid came home and locked himself in his bedroom and you could hear his sobs from two floors away). It's a great way to check in with your kids to make sure that their expectations were met, or if they weren't, to offer words of encouragement or advice so they can move forward.
It's always fascinating to me to ask my kids how they FEEL about something. It can be tricky to ask kids, especially as they get older, how school is going, how their relationships are working out, sports, family life, etc. Often if you ask a yes or no question, they'll just say yes or no. If you ask how something was, you're going to get "good" as a response. BUT if you ask them to share their FEELINGS they can't just say good or yes or no.
3. GIVE THEM A VALENTINE-Dads, perhaps more than moms, need PERMISSION to tell their kids they love them. It doesn't always seem as acceptable as we might think. BUT thankfully this holiday is one in which we are virtually TOLD to tell our kids not only that we love them, but I'm going to challenge Dads to tell their kids WHY they love them. Take a few minutes and list just some of the reasons why you love them.
Also, #dadhack: go to the dollar store to get a Valentine's Day card for them. So cheap and you can also pick up a few little holiday items to accompany the valentine without breaking the bank!
Think about it Dads, if your kids were hoping to get a valentine from the man of their dreams, and they don't, then you gotta make sure they don't go to sleep feeling that they're UNLOVED. We don't want that for our kids. We want our kids to FEEL loved- and it has to come from what we TELL them and SHOW them! So don't let the day go by without telling your kids WHY you love them.
So Dads, we got this. We can totally rock out this Valentine's Day holiday if we just remember to talk to our kids BEFORE the holiday and get an idea of their expectations so you know how you can help out. Then FOLLOW up with them and see how the holiday went. Did they get what they wanted from the holiday? Finally, TELL YOUR KIDS WHY YOU LOVE THEM! Give them a valentine. Make them feel special. Don't let them down!