Let’s face it—celebrating Valentine’s Day around a teen or tween is a tricky, tricky thing. Too much celebration and you risk embarrassing them, too little and you risk hurting their feelings.
Here are 4 CAREFULLY THOUGHT THROUGH ideas that will PROBABLY not end up traumatizing your child, ranked from least-likely-to-traumatize to potentially more risky. You know your kid best and err on the side of caution. Or the side that is most adorably Instagramed.
4 Ways to (carefully) show your teen or tween you care
1) Bring them breakfast in bed
So many great options for this, but heart-shaped donuts and bacon will likely do the trick.
Pros: Instagramable! And it’s food! Teens love food.
Cons: You have to wake them up. Tip: speak in a calm and gentle manner and DON’T TALK ABOUT WHAT A MESS THEIR ROOM IS. If necessary, leave the plate of food on their nightstand and back away.
2) Heart-shaped pizza for family dinner
Most towns have a place that serves heart-shaped pizza in February, which is adorable.
Pros: Pizza. And a family dinner takes the emphasis off how things may have gone that day with your child’s crush. And good Instagram/Snapchat fodder! Tip: light some candles and serve on actual plates so it feels fancy.
Cons: Potential for tween/teen to be upstaged by sibling who had a GREAT day! Also, the pizza probably won’t be tasty.
3) Balloon Forest
Use helium balloons and write a word or phrase on each balloon to describe something you love about your child. You can look on Pinterest for word lists (I compiled a few here so you can get a quick start. You don’t have to write every word–a few meaningful ones will do.)
Pros: A great way to affirm a kid and let them know you see good things in them. And Instagramable!
Cons: If you want to slip them into their room in the morning, you’ll need that hi-float stuff and have them ready the night before.
4) Hugs & Kisses
The chocolate kind. Find your kid’s favorite flavor and then tuck them into their backpack. Tip: Contain the hugs and kisses in little baggies or something so they don’t get lost at the bottom of the backpack.
Pros: I have to be honest, since this one LEAVES THE HOUSE, there is risk. They’ll be pulling them out in front of friends, so be aware of their comfort with that.
Cons: Not really Instagramable, and your kid might get irked at the mess if the chocolate melts on their stuff.
I don’t it to sound like teens and tweens act irrationally about stuff, but, uh, erm….they just have a lot of feelings and they may not understand their own reaction to things, so it’s best to tread thoughtfully. Trust me-I know. I’m the mom who sent her sweet, happy tween one of those singing candy grams they sell at school one year AND OH MY GOSH, THE HORROR OF IT ALL. Not only did it miss the mark on communicating my love and affection for my child in a fun way, but I also got to chat with the school nurse because my MORTIFIED CHILD was sobbing in her office.
Don’t be that parent.
Good luck. <3
(Oh, as a bonus tip if you have younger kids or your teen/tween is game for something fun, checkout this free printable by Big Life Journal that focuses on self-love in a charming, fun way that is perfect for Valentine’s Day or anytime. I’m actually doing it with the Eldest and the Littlest (the Middlest tapped out on participating when I offered). Click here to download it!