Before we had children, Valentine’s Day was all about romance. But once we had two little girls, it became all about them, and family love overtook romantic love on this special day. Now we give gifts and do special family activities to celebrate our family and our love for each other.
We are programmed to have children even though they are expensive and trying. (Pets are much cheaper and they don’t talk back). But we love our children unconditionally and they think we’re the absolute best (even if they don’t always show it). Ask any famous actor about the most important thing he or she ever did, and many will say having and raising their children. What is most important to you? Most likely, you won’t look back and say, “I wish I had spent less time with my children and more time at my job.” We had children because the benefits outweigh the costs, and love is worth more than anything. So let’s use this Valentine’s Day to begin enhancing our relationships with our children. Here are just a few ideas:
· Listen to your child. When she is telling you something, stop what you are doing, look at her in the eye, and really listen. When you respond, do not give advice unless you are asked. Just validate what he has to say.
· Spend alone time with each of your children daily, or weekly, or whatever you can manage. This can be going to Starbucks, cooking together, doing yard work, or driving in the car – anything that helps you bond and communicate.
· Speak to your children in a loving and respectful way. Compliment them on things they do well, thank them for helping out, give hugs and say “I love you.”
· Have fun with your children. Play a game together, watch a movie together, and laugh together.
· When they misbehave, remember that this is not a personal affront to you – they are just being kids.
This Valentine’s Day, celebrate your family – cut out some time for the whole group to have fun together.