If you are like most moms, you’ve probably made a last minute trip to your local Walgreens, CVS or Wal-Mart the day before Valentine’s Day to pick through the leftover boxes of cards and treats for something decent to send your child to school with for their class party.
As I checked my options – Frozen or Paw Patrol – I noticed a theme in the card’s messages. Yes, while some said, “you make my heart beat,” most were encouraging and friendly. And while Valentine’s Day is marketed as a romantic holiday, as parents, we can use these cards to teach our children a valuable lesson they can carry with them throughout life.
Be respectful and inclusive
My children’s daycare sent a note home last week informing parents of a Valentine’s Day class party. They noted how many valentine cards would be needed for each class and reminded us of food allergies. So of course, the day before the party, I am frantically writing my children’s names on the cards and scotch taping them to the treat that will be handed out to their classmates. Each child will get a card and a little treat from each of their classmates. No one will be left out. Even if my son isn’t best friends with everyone, we teach him to be respectful and friendly to others and not to exclude them from free play and activities.
Be encouraging and friendly
I love that the kid’s cards have encouraging, friendly messaging. Dream Big, You Are Pawsome!, You Were Born Pawsome!, You Are Wooly Cool and You Rock are the messages on the cards being sent to daycare this year. I hope that we can all take those messages and continue to encourage and build up our children, family, co-workers and friends just as we are teaching our children to do with their classmates.
Some of the conversations our four-year-old has started with me lately have surrounded differences among he and his friends. For example, he has red hair, friend 1 has blonde hair and friend 2 has brown hair. I’ve responded by confirming that yes, they all have different hair color. And isn’t it so cool that you are all different but such good friends? I am attempting to teach him that differences are to be celebrated and admired, not criticized.