Getting to the Heart of Valentine’s Day

Getting to the Heart of Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought this week I’d share with you some specials gifts you can give your children that will last longer than any traditional greeting card. So, let me get to the heart of the matter and provide some ways to tell your children you love them.

First, use plenty of positive words with your child each and every day to build their self-esteem and self-confidence. Using words like “good job” or “you are being so nice” are some great ways to say “I love you” to your child.

Also, give your child a hug or pat on the back if he or she’s in a bad mood. If you have an older child, have a secret sign or gesture of affection to show your love. This will have a calming effect and will encourage your child to talk with you about what’s bothering them.

Make time for your children each day and also create what I call “special time” with each of your children every week.  Do something different with your child that is different from your daily routine and plays to their particular strengths. For example, if they like to cook, let them make cookies with you.  If they like to draw, sit down and work on an art project together.  Set aside time for family game nights and let your child choose the game to play. Doing so allows you to show each child how unique they are and that you love them for their uniqueness.

Believe it or not, a great Valentine to your child is to make sure they stay healthy by keeping their checkups and immunizations up-to-date, that you ensure they exercise regularly and that your home is safe from accidents.

Finally, don’t forget to simply say “I love you” to your child on a daily basis. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t say that phrase enough.

Hopefully, tips like this will do far more than Cupid arrows can when it comes to hitting the bull’s eye and truly showing your children how much you love them. In return, you will see how much they love you so that Valentine’s Day is not just celebrated on February 14, but every day of the year. 

Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch "First with Kids" weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at www.FletcherAllen.org/firstwithkids.