Photo Credit: Tanya Little/Flickr Open/Getty Images
Sure, your kids are all about the candy and the cute cards from their classmates. But step up your mom-game this Valentine's Day by showing your littlest loves some extra affection. Here are 13 easy ways to take it up a notch and make your kids feel special.
Shower with flowers
Tara Moore/Taxi/Getty ImagesThe kids will feel warm and fuzzy when they present some pretty stems to a few special people. Stop by the florist or your local grocery store and pick up a simple bunch of pink carnations and then dole them out – to teachers, an elderly neighbor, or a beloved babysitter.
A heart explosion!
Digital Vision/Getty ImagesYup—it’s fine to go a little crazy with the theme on Valentine’s Day (the kids will love it). Get your heart-shaped cookie cutters and cut out everything you serve, all day long. Easy foods you can shape include French toast, pancakes, mini pizzas, slices of meatloaf, toast with jam and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Pink Toes and Power ToolsGot a bunch of outtakes from a family vacation? If not, just order up a few of your favs from Shutterfly and then set up this easy photo project. Cut out heart-shaped frames for the pictures, big red lips to decorate and then write up some bubble quotes with sweet sayings (‘Be mine’, ‘You’re sweet’). Let the kids paste it all together and mail the finished masterpieces to family and friends.
A sweet ending
Hostess With the MostessYou’ll knock the kids’ socks off with a Valentine’s Day dessert bar. Go beyond make-your-own ice cream sundaes and set up a platter of chocolate-covered cookies and red velvet cupcakes, fill Champagne flutes with red and pink M&M’s, and serve chocolate milk (or plain, tinted with some red food coloring) with red straws.
Get your game on
The Crafting ChicksAfter you've doled out the kisses, hugs and chocolate, play a special Valentine's Day game. Our pick:Valentine Bingo cards. Use candy conversation hearts as markers, and let the winner eat the game pieces.
Nail NerdIf you have little girls, treat them to a heart-themed mani the night before. Paint her nails pink, then dot on red hearts using a toothpick or draw with a nail pen. Or, make it even easier and buy nail stickers shaped like lips and hearts.
Pack a lovable lunch
Twig and ThistleSurprise your school-age kids with heartfelt messages attached to their brown bag lunch. Print outstickers with sayings like "Orange you glad you're my Valentine," "We make the perfect pear," or "I'm going bananas over you" to add to your kid's favorite fruit.
Create a love library
Sasha Bell/Flickr/Getty ImagesOne mom we spoke with gives each of her kids a love-themed book each Valentine's Day. A month or two later, she stores the books away until the holiday comes around again the next year. Then, when she pulls out the previous years' gifts on Feb. 14, her kids get to enjoy them all over again.
Make it a game day
Beauty and BedlamPlan a treasure hunt. Offer clues -- written on heart-shaped paper, of course -- sending your children from room to room in search of a Valentine's Day reward. We think a box of chocolates will get you lots of hugs and kisses in return.
Share the love
Image Source/Getty ImagesLots of families make time to volunteer around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but why not show your love for others by planning a family volunteer experience on Valentine's Day? Reach out to food banks, hospitals or nursing homes and teach your kids about giving.Or even just have your kids write valentines to your local firefighters, postal carrier or the elderly neighbor who lives down the block.
Splurge on a store-bought sweet
Iconica/Getty ImagesYour kid always begs for a special cookie from the grocery store bakery -- and you never cave in. Well, today's the day, mama. There's just something special about a beautifully made bakery treat, so pick up a scallop-edged, heart shaped cookie with three shades of pink icing or a fancy red velvet cupcake piled high with frosting from your local bakery.
Heart your house
Image Source/Getty Images"We make paper hearts and decorate them," one mom tells us. "Then we tape them all over the house so they can see the love wherever they go." Just don't be surprised if you decide to never take them down.
Think outside the heart-shaped box
Fun Stuff by JaniceIt's easy to think your kids only want sweets on Valentine's Day, but try giving them a small, unexpected gift instead -- a cute pair of socks with hearts on them, a toothbrush with a note that says "I can't smile without you" attached to it, or even a set of heart shaped crayons.