Dear Penrose Families,
When you think about the month of February what comes to mind? Do you think about Ground Hog Day and how much more winter we have to endure? How about President’s Day and how lucky we are to live in the United States of America. Maybe you have a countdown to the Super Bowl? Perhaps you are gearing up to celebrate the Year of the Tiger for the Chinese New Year? Well, if we ask the children what they think about when they hear February they say, “Valentine’s Day!”
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for people we love. Many of us approach this holiday with trepidation and anxiety due to painful memories that left us full of heartache rather than joy. These days we are bombarded for weeks with commercial messages insisting love is a heart-shaped box of candy, diamonds, and stuffed animals. Like the Christmas barrage, it is hard to escape. As parents, we can do a lot to help our children put Valentine’s Day in perspective.
First, be clear about your own feelings about Valentine’s Day. Is this holiday important to you? Do you expect gifts and cards? Do you give them?
Talk with your child’s teacher about their Valentine’s Day policies. If your child is expected to give valentines to every child in the class, then make sure they do so.
Share your own experiences of Valentine’s Day- both good and bad. Remember counting how many valentines you received?
If your child balks at giving a valentine to a classmate that he/she doesn’t like, listen to his/her feelings. It’s unreasonable to expect your child to like everyone, but it is important he/she learns to get along well with others, and follow class rules.
If your child wants to do something special for a friend, make a special time for them to get together outside of the school day.
Remember that as parents, we transmit values to our children through our behavior. If we celebrate Valentine’s Day as exchanging expensive gifts, it is likely that our children will want to do the same.
Finally, it’s never too early to help children express love and friendship in ways that transcend materialism. Because young children are concrete thinkers, it’s hard for them to understand a concept that can’t be represented by objects. But watching you give gifts of kindness, time, compassion, respect, and thoughtfulness to the people you love—not just on holidays but throughout the year—they will learn that “I love you” means so much more than three words inscribed on a candy heart.