If you are a parent with small children, Valentine's Day may not seem as fun or easy as it once was. But while you might not have the time or energy for a long, romantic, candle-lit dinner and champagne for two, why not take the opportunity to create a celebration of all the loves of your life, including your children? Rather than an expensive date night, plan a romantic family meal at home. Here are some tips and ideas:
- If you enjoy creativity in the kitchen, a simple Pinterest search for Valentine foods for kids will provide thousands of ideas for your meal, from heart-shaped foods to delicious and simple recipes kids love.
- If you are not especially fond of meal planning and food preparation, order takeout from your family’s favorite restaurant as your main course, then buy sparkling juice and a decadent dessert to round out the meal.
- Serve the children their sparkling juice in plastic champagne glasses (adults can use glass).
- Have the kids help decorate the house or table with hand-made hearts or valentine's cards. If you have white or red lights packed away from the holidays, pull them out and string them up around the room. Use fresh flowers as a centerpiece.
- Set the table using a tablecloth, place-mats and your "fancy" dishes and glasses.
- Put on some music, dim the lights and light some candles.
- During the meal, have everyone share one thing they love about each of the other family members.
- Have a plan ready for keeping the kids busy after the meal (a movie or new toy) so you and your partner can relax for a few minutes alone.
- Be realistic: there may be interruptions or the typical meal time hassles with children (food on the floor, spills, or “yucky” food they refuse to eat), but you are teaching them that it is important to show your love to those closest to you and passing along a new tradition.
- Best of all, since Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, you can have a family celebration for breakfast (with pink heart-shaped pancakes!) or lunch and still have a date night with your partner in the evening.
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