Valentine’s Day after kids come along can look a little bit different, but that doesn’t mean your holiday needs to be boring or any less fun (or even less romantic). You can include your kids in your Valentine’s Day plans so no one feels left out. Who knows? You may even decide that you enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day more as a family.
Here are eight ways to include the kids in your Valentine’s Day plans.
1. Go on a Dinner Date
Everyone loves date night, even kids! Make an upcoming meal a special occasion for you, your partner and your children. Really hype it up for the smallest members of your family. Get everyone dressed up, maybe go to a fancy restaurant and show them how to fine dine.
Make the experience more kid-friendly by opting to go to a fancier spot not on Valentine’s Day (you know, in case someone has a meltdown; you don’t want to be that family with the kids interrupting everyone else’s dates). You can also choose to go out for a nice breakfast or brunch versus a dinner, which can also be a little more kid-friendly.
2. Swap Gifts
There’s no reason that Valentine’s Day gifts need to be relegated to jewelry and roses swapped between spouses. Exchange gifts with the entire family, allowing children to pick out gifts for mom and dad, and picking out small gifts for the kids as well.
3. Put Together an At-Home Valentine’s Day Date
You don’t necessarily have to leave home to celebrate Valentine’s Day. As a family, put together a Valentine’s Day breakfast with heart-shaped pancakes, strawberries and pink- or red-tinged drinks (think strawberry milk for the kids and cocktails for the adults).
Have a picnic in the backyard (if you live somewhere warm enough), with cheese, fruit and grape juice or wine.
Watch a movie with a romantic theme, so long as it’s kid-friendly. You might choose a popular Disney film like Lady and the Tramp, Enchanted or Beauty and the Beast.
4. Share the Love
You can go on all the Valentine’s Day dates and swap all the presents you want, but what really matters most is the love you share with your family. Set aside some time for the whole crew to come together to discuss the deeper meanings of Valentine’s Day and what you all love about each other.
5. Plan a Family Outing
There are plenty of dates that you and your partner likely enjoy that your kids would enjoy, too. Go to the zoo or aquarium, visit the park, head to a new museum, go out for ice cream, go on a hike or bike ride. While your kids are absorbed in oo-ing and aw-ing over penguins or racing ahead on their bikes, it’ll also give you and your partner a chance to enjoy a little one-on-one time, while still experiencing the day as an entire family.
6. Indulge a Little
Valentine’s Day is all about indulging and treating yourself, whether that be with chocolate, a nice dinner, wine, or anything else your heart might desire, so let the kids treat themselves, too. Plan to surprise them (and your partner) with a fun indulgence, whether that be whipping up (and then eating way too much of) a chocolate fondue in the kitchen, a trip out as a family for manicures and pedicures, or having a few root beer floats (minus the root, for the adults) before bedtime.
7. Let Your Child Choose
Eventually, you probably will want to actually spend some alone time with your partner on or around Valentine’s Day, but you can still ensure your child is well-cared for and not left out in the meantime, by letting them choose how to spend their hours while the parents play.
Maybe you let them pick a series of movies to watch while a favorite relative babysits, or maybe you let them pick a fun outing for themselves and an older sibling to enjoy while you and your partner stay in. This way, everyone gets some fun time, but without constantly being together.
8. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on It
As with most things in parenting, don’t put too much pressure on creating the perfect Valentine’s Day plan. Things will go awry at some point; tears may be shed; tummy aches may result from too much candy. The only thing that matters is that your children know you made an effort to include them in your and your partner’s Valentine’s Day plans.