Valentines Day for Children
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Valentines Day for Children can be a happy time or a conflicted one.
Here are a couple of Ask Dr. Vicki questions I have received over the past year:
Does my child have to give a valentine to everyone in the class?
Dr. Vicki’s comments:
Valentines Day for children means being nice to everyone, even if you don’t like them! Generally, in the younger grades, kids are encouraged to give valentines to everyone in the class. That way, no one feels left out. It’s a terrible feeling to be sitting in class with an empty bag, while others are overflowing.
On the other hand, kids should be allowed to like some peers more than others. If your child wants to vary his valentines, I think that is perfectly fine. For instance, give cards with his favorite superhero on them to his favorite friends; other classmates can be given cards with other kinds of heroes. Teach your children how to express their fond feelings for some, without being mean or hurtful to others.
My son didn’t get a valentine from a child who gave them out to several of his friends. How do I explain this to him? Should I contact the parents?
Dr. Vicki’s response:
Valentines Day for children can sometimes be rough on, as well as on their parents! It’s so tough to watch our children feel hurt or disappointment. However, don’t be too quick to contact other parents; this can seriously backfire on your son. I suggest you ask your child how he felt and why he thinks he didn’t get a valentine from that child. Talk about what valentines mean and explore whether he had the kind of special relationship with that child to really warrant a valentine. Recognize his feelings and understand that you don’t have to make them go away or fix the problem. Help him find his own solution. He may want to let it go, or actually talk to the other child about it.
If this was a child he thought was a friend, talk to him about how to pick friends and figure out whether they really are true pals. Help him identify some kids/people with whom he has special relationships that would merit a valentine. The truth of the matter is, not everyone is going to like your child, and vice versa. Teaching him how to deal with disappointment is much more important than trying to eliminate it from his daily life.
What’s the protocol for giving Valentines Day gifts to teachers? Do I need to buy another gift so close to the December holidays?
Dr. Vicki’s comments:
Generally, Valentines Day for children, particularly for very younger kids, is a day for bringing a handmade card or goodie for the teacher. Nothing elaborate is required or expected. As your kids get older, especially by preteen, they may be mortified if you try to bring their teacher a gift! Make sure that your child is comfortable with the way you want to express your good wishes. If they really don’t want you to give a gift, then consider just sending a personal note to express your own appreciation and good wishes.
What questions do you have or situations you have faced regarding Valentines Day for children?