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11 Valentines Traditions to Start with Toddlers

Growing up, Valentines was my favorite holiday behind Easter and Christmas. I always looked forward to the fun family dinner we’d have and the little gifts my mom would have on each of our seats. It usually meant fun family baking and always exchanging notes with friends at school.

We aren’t on top of ALL the traditions we want to have in our family but Valentines is still one of my favorites. Whether you want to start a couple of these or are just looking for a little something to make the day with toddlers more fun, here are 11 great traditions to start for Valentines with your own family.

Valentines 2018 by popular Boston lifestyle blogger Elisabeth McKnight

Have a red-themed dinner:

This is my kids favorite and the biggest part of our Valentines. Sometimes we mix it up and make it lunch or celebrate the day before if my husband and I are going out on Valentines evening but here’s what you do.

  1. Create a simple menu of ALL RED food items: We usually cut up a red bell pepper, a red apple, and then have some kind of pasta with red sauce (or get our favorite pasta + chicken parm takeout). It isn’t anything super fancy but that is just how the toddler like it and something I can still whip up after chasing crazy kids all day.
  2. Throw up some red decorations : This usually consists of a few simple things from Target’s dollar spot but red + pink balloons are always the biggest hit.
  3. A little gift at each seat: Growing up my mom always gave each kid a red or pink clothing item or accessory for Valentines day and we continue that tradition. There is usually a pink or red item along with a small candy on each chair when everyone comes to dinner.

Our first red dinner with toddlers here.

Another Valentines dinner with toddlers here.

Make love books:

Imagine a fun little picture book full of all the people that love your child! I made these for my kids for Valentines when they were 1 and 3 and they are still, 4 years later, some of their most prized possessions. I just put together pictures I had and had them printed into a photobook but you could also include little messages from family members + friends about what they love about your child. My kid especially love reading these if my husband and I are ever away.

Click here to details on how we made ours and where I recommend printing them.

Send love letters / decorate cards:

Celebrate this day of love by spreading some love. Let your kids draw pictures and decorate cards for family members or friends that are far away.

Decorate sugar cookies or graham cracker frosting cookies:

A favorite tradition of mine growing up was decorating heart shaped sugar cookies. Let your kids decorate one for each other or set aside a few to deliver to neighbors along with a little card. If baking sugar cookies isn’t your thing you can also make little valentines graham cracker frosting sandwiches which are as fun as they are simple.

Click here for our go-to sugar cookie recipe (the best).

Share things you love about each other:

A simple, easy, meaningful tradition is to set aside a time on Valentines to share the things you love about each other. We like to go around the table at dinner and take turns each sharing something we love about our family or individual family members. You could do this at breakfast, snuggled up before bed, or on a special after-school ice cream date.

Countdown to V-day:

Think about heart-attacking your child’s bedroom door and each day leading up to Valentines day leave another heart on their door with something else you love about them. Encourage the kids to join in and leave little notes for other family members on their doors, too.

Turn your xmas cards into a “people we love” Valentines banner:

This is our first year doing this but I love how it puts all those beautiful holiday cards to good use! See the tutorial here.

Heart shaped pizzas:

One of the few things my kids agree on is that pizza is the very best. You can whip up homemade pizza for Valentine OR check with some of your local pizzarias because many of them offer Valentines specials (and if they don’t you can try Chick-fil-a who has these fun heart shaped trays in honor of Valentines right now).

Valentines photo shoot:

Local photographers often offer Valentines mini sessions or you can get creative and take your own! Check out this inspirationon pinterest.

Valentines PJs:

I love any excuse for new matching PJs but the Valentines ones have been getting better and better recently. Hanna Andersson is always my favorite place for kids pajamas (and the only pajamas that have lasted as hand-me-downs through all three of my kids) but Old Navy also has some super cute ones at a better price point.

“What I love about you” posters or books for each kid:

We talked about sharing thing we loved about each other at dinner but what if you had a poster for each kid and then you all filled it with things you love about that person? It is a fun activity in the moment but also think about how meaningful it would be for them to have that hanging in their room? All they have to do is look over to be reminded how loved + cherished they are.

Valentines Dance Party:

Put together a love playlist and dance around your living room together! Bonus point if everyone puts on something pink or red for the dance party and if it ends with sips of sparkling red juice (or as my kids call it “spicy juice”).

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