The month of February seems to fixate on chocolate, heart crafts and cute classroom cards as we get closer to Valentine’s Day. A February post I was writing for the Melissa and Doug blog reminds me that love of others isn’t just reserved for special occasions and holidays.
Why not use Valentine’s Day as your jumping off point. Start reminding your partner and your kids just how special they are to you, everyday, and here are two easy ideas.
Love Memory Jar
It’s so easy to dwell on the negative, they tend to be the things that stick in our mind: your son is angry because you make a vegetable for dinner you know he doesn’t like, you are fed up because the kids still haven’t put their LEGO away from on the dining room table, your daughter thinks you just don’t understand what she’s going through when it comes to a fight with her friends at school. We’re quick to point out the things that annoy us but the things that make us happy are just as important, they just don’t get vocalized that often.
The idea of a memory jar isn’t new, collecting positive experiences as they occur. It’s easy enough for families to add a Love Memory Jar into their everyday routine. Shanty 2 Chic also offers some great memory jar printables if you want to get fancy but a simple jar with plain paper will do the trick too. It’s all about the memories and how they make you feel, not the container they sit in.
It can be as simple as an empty mason jar out with scraps of paper and a pen nearby. As someone has a great moment, while they are in the high of their positive experience, they can jot down the date and the memory and place it in the jar.
- – Top marks on a test you thought was really hard? Add to the memory jar.
- – Someone complimented you on your hair? Add to the memory jar.
- – Mom made your favourite lunch for school? Add to the memory jar.
From experiences within the family to those perpetrated by complete strangers, your Love Memory Jar will soon fill with positive feelings from the month. At the end of the month randomly read the memories out to share and relive the moments that made you happy. What an easy way to remember the good that goes on in our lives. Do this every month and you can collect some of your favourites to compile in a family book of happy memories.
Hopefully each month the jar will get fuller and fuller as the family focuses more on the positive experiences, seeing the wonderful side of everyday things. What memory would you put in your family’s jar today? I’m sure there’s something positive that has happened to you today already.
Daily Heart Note
Although we all want to feel appreciated and loved, I often feel our kids need and crave this the most. Sometimes in a family we take for granted that each of us knows that they are loved. The Daily Heart is a lovely way to remind our kids, daily, of what makes them special. It’s a way to focus on the positive and how they light our hearts everyday, even if there are moments of frustration and tears.
- My son has such conviction, standing behind something he truly believes to be right and just. I hope he continues to believe in himself, as he gets older.
- My youngest daughter has such a vivid imagination, leading to hours of games and activities on her own. I love that she has this world she can call on whenever she feels the need.
- My oldest daughter is so full of empathy for others; always ensuring those around her are happy.
These are things I believe and love about my kids but I probably don’t tell them often enough. But these Heart Notes don’t have to be deep in thought. A simple note to your daughter acknowledging her ability to tell great knock-knock jokes or your son’s sense of style with the outfit he put together. Simple cut out a heart shape and write your message inside. You can then stick the hearts to your child’s door or their headboard or maybe tuck them under their pillow.
If you’re not very good at drawing heart shapes, The Graphics Fairy has an easy heart printable you can use. You can even print off a few extra hearts and leave them out for the kids to write notes to leave their siblings.
A lovely greeting telling you how much you are loved and appreciated, just by being you that would make everyday a good day. Even Monday.
When school starts in September most of us are eager to send our kids off to school in a positive way. We buy new lunch bags and make creative lunches, some even add little notes or special treats to their child’s lunch (we shared about 50 ideas).
Then homework starts and things get busy. Some of our parental enthusiasm wanes. Why not start adding little notes back into your child’s lunch, a reminder that they are loved and no matter how busy mom and dad sometimes seem to be, the kids are always top of mind and heart.
Don’t start to panic about sending notes everyday. Maybe pick a random day, once a week to tuck a note in the lunch. It becomes an element of surprise. My daughter at first was embarrassed when I tucked little notes into her lunch, one child made a criticizing comment, but others wanted to see what note she received. Her embarrassment turned to personal pride. Even if she kept these notes a secret, not showing her friends, she loved getting them and told me so when I had stopped at one time. These don’t have to be notes all the time either. How about an inside joke or doodle or game? It’s just a way to remind the kids that you are thinking of them.
So while we prepare for Valentine’s Day with our gifts and cards, remember that feeling of love is more than just a day. Congratulating our children for doing well on a test or a science fair is important but also reminding them we love them because they smile or hang the fallen towel in the bathroom or just because they are here and part of our lives.
It’s a simple thing but an often forgotten or assumed thing. Make Valentine’s Day be the first of many days telling each other how much we love and appreciate one another.